This is a controversial topic with many teachers; as we saw with the results of the vote it is an even split with teachers that want them VS. teachers that want them gone. There were great arguments made by both sides.
Skyler and Alyssa argued that cell phones were a positive addition to the classroom while Jill and Tarina took that the stance that cell phones should be banned in school. I feel like I have a fairly unique perspective on this. I have spent half my career in high school and half in elementary. I have taught in what would be considered Moose Jaw’s most affluent Elementary School and currently work at a Community School. With this experience brings a lot of perspective. My answer to the entire thing… at the risk of repeating myself, balance.
No.. not yoga balance. Balance between analog and digital. I have been beating this drum in Alec’s ECI classes for two years. I believe the key to technology in Education is balance. We live in an increasing digital world however, this should put even more importance on some analog skills. Like Art, Music, linguistics, Practical and Applied Arts and many others. I believe that an increasingly digital world means we need to balance that with skills and hobbies that use different preceptor parts of our brain. Its good for the soul to work with your hands…. not just to type on a keyboard.
So… In a world that everyone has a cell phone in their pocket… It would be silly to think they shouldn’t begin to learn basic cell phone etiquette from their teachers. Perhaps the reason we see so many adults with poor etiquette is that they got these phones when they were young adults and nobody ever talked to them about proper use and social expectations. If we want to break this cycle it needs to start young. We have driver training class and a supervised plan of action when it comes to operating a car, I am not making direct comparisons but surely you can see how this could be similar.
I am not saying that we should give kids cell phones in grade school, I am not saying the responsibility lies solely on teachers… but I am saying that banning their use teaches them nothing. It is a short term solution that doesn’t line up with future expectations.