Saturday, 9 October 2010

Mobile phones in the classroom........again.

By now most of my friends and colleagues know my opinions on using mobile phones in the classroom. I've just read this article Cell phones in the Classroom. Bad idea, inevitable, or both? by Brad Moon.

It was tweeted to me by Clare and Alex and they got it from Peter.
(Sounds like a disease, I know.)

In the article, written in Canada, the writer tells us that the OSSTF is against allowing students to have mobile phones in school for the following reasons (the comments in italics are my childish attempts at humour):

1) they cause a distraction to students
(as do wasps and farts. Can we please ban those, too?)

2) there is a potential for student/teacher conflicts
(just like homework, shall we ban that, too?)

3) it may cause a socio-economic divide between students
(this has always existed. we can tell who are the rich kids and who are the poor kids without mobile phone inspections!)

4) they could be used to cheat during tests
(now you're just being silly. Even the most myopic of invigilators would notice a student using a telephone in a test, surely. Plus I can't even get a signal in my classroom unless I stand on a desk with one leg and both arms in the air!)

On a more serious note, mobile phones, or as I shall now refer to them, Personal Learning Devices (PLDs) are not going to go away. As educators we should be using them to their full potential in our classrooms.

If students placed their PLDs on the desk in front of them with their other equipment and in full sight of the teacher, the opportunities for abusing them would be almost non-existent.

Allowing students to use PLDs in schools may have teething troubles at the start, but in my experience the students who use them have been very sensible.

One final point and this is a fact: More students come to my classroom with a mobile phone than a pen.


PS I've just received a link from Isabelle which takes me to this article written by Ian Yorston, who sums up what I've been trying to say for the last two years in one sentence. I'm sure he won't mind me quoting him:

Schools don't need ICT. It's coming through our doors every day. We just need to adopt and adapt a little bit.

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