The headline in the local weekly paper this week reads “High Schools Striving to Control Cell Phones.” It’s accompanied by a picture of one of the disciplinarian at an area school sitting behind a mound of confiscated phones on his desk. The article is sprinkled with quotes about how parents are too soft, how punishments need to be raised, and that rumors about students using the phones to cheat at school were “false information.”
Last week we also had the first MySpace “incident” at our school. Two of our students started harassing each other on their sites and both ended up in the assistant superintendent’s office for some mediation and some editing. Turns out, unbeknownst to me, btw, that the plug’s been pulled on MySpace here. (Edublogs, Blogger, Flickr and the like are still there.) I’m feeling somewhat red-faced, somewhat amazed, and somewhat ambivalent.
So the pitched battle hits home, and I’m sure I’ll be writing more about the ripples. I’m in no way condoning the harassment or the cheating, but I still think trying to take away from kids the technologies they communicate and learn with is the wrong approach. We can clamp down and ultimately fail as the kids and the technology overwhelm us, or try to educate and model and repurpose our curricula to take advantage of what these technologies offer.