Thursday, February 10, 2011

Creating a Policy for Cell Phone / Handheld Use in the Classroom

Our current technology play calls for the use of handhelds in the classroom. Presently, we are working on changing our current policy to allow for their use in order to enhance instruction. Typically, and I am sure my school district is no different from most, cell phone use was limited to before and after school and cell phones must be off and out of sight during the school day. The consequences for using a cell phone during the school day is treated seriously.

As mentioned, we are looking to revamp the policy completely in order to encourage the use of the technology as we are embracing the notion of teaching 21st century skills. I am in the process of looking at different policies as we work as a technology committee to shape ours.

My initial thoughts focus on the idea that technology should be used to enhance the educational process without becoming an unwelcomed distraction. Many students have a powerful technological device in their pocket. They are connected to the internet and have a variety of applications that can facilitate learning. Furthermore, we can help students maximize the potential of these devices by teaching and reinforcing proper use. Don't get me wrong. I'm not ignorant and recognize that there are valid concerns. It is easy to hide behind the small screen and use the technology in a disruptive or inappropriate manner. Any policy created must acknowledge and address this reality.

Following are some resources / readings on the topic:

School Policies on Cell Phone Use:

So, as we move toward a policy that embraces cell phone and handheld use to enhance education, I believe a number of questions are worth exploring:

  • Should the policy indicate that devices should be turned off and out of sight unless otherwise noted for a specific educational activity or should students be encouraged to use devices as a regular academic tool?
  • Should devices be permitted during non-academic times (i.e. lunch, study hall)?
  • Should certain applications be generally banned (YouTube)?
  • What should the AUP include?
  • What consequences should be given for inappropriate use?

Any feedback is certainly welcome.


rmbsept said...

This is a great blog post! Every school is struggling with their AUP. Ours is no exception. To get different perspectives is so important. Also, the questions you ask are great. I emailed the link of your blog post to my principal and vice principal. I think we need a committee consisting of teachers, administrators, parents, students and tech administrators to sit down and hammer this thing out in a way that is forward looking and not just reactionary.

Lois Mauch said...

WOW, I loved this blog. I am going to add it to my RSS feed. I would love to see at least I-touch in the classrooms so students could move and learn at the same time. Math and Science lessons could be reviewed while moving to enhanse learning as research has shown. Thank you for sharing!