I have a good friend who teaches in a graduate preservice program at a nearby university. He related this story from one of his students. The names have been changed to protect the, um…well, you know.
This week I subbed at “Normal” High School where I did my student teaching. I was in the room with my cooperating teacher and we were catching up. She was checking her email and received this message from one of her students. It read: “Hi Mrs. Smith. This is John. I had a question about the Hamlet homework you assigned. I am texting you from my cell phone in [in-school suspension].” The school has a simple cell phone policy: “No cell phones or text messaging during class.” The policy holds true when you are in [in-school suspension] because it is on school grounds. You are in [in-school suspension] to do school work, that is it; no socializing, no talking, no sleeping, no listening to I-pods, and no texting. Anyway, my cooperating teacher was appalled. She printed out the email, brought it to her supervisor, and apparently someone went to the [in-school suspension] room to retrieve John’s phone. He refused to give it to the teacher, which landed him in [in-school suspension] for another 2 days for insubordination. In the end, what does this all mean? John never received the help he needed for his homework.
Christopher D. Sessums says
This looks like a great opportunity for the suspended student to organize a mob!
Harold Jarche says
The great work of the 21st C is to bring democracy to our institutions – business, bureaucracy and especially education. We obviously have a long way way to go when students have no voice whatsoever.
Jack MacLeod says
And texting the teacher for help with an assignment was not school work how? This is the problem with blanket bans – they don’t allow kids to use their technology for good. Yeah, they probably shouldn’t be texting each other to set up a fight at recess but shouldn’t they be able to use cell phones to support and enhance their learning?
Exactly what i was thinking. SOME of the teachers these days just look at the main idea of what someone did. But they dont look into it. Like ‘Why were they texting?’ They are reallying thinking ‘What is this?! They arent supposed to be TEXTING!!’ and they ignore what it says completely.
Amy Bowllan says
I’m not sure about this one. Initially I’m thinking – what’s the in house suspension for? – then I’m thinking – kudos to the student for wanting to get ahead on his work. Shouldn’t the school bend the rules a little when a student is reaching out for Hamlet? imho
Sadly, this scenario plays out on a daily basis at schools across the nation. I’m tackling ePortfolios with my students, having them select artifacts of their work to evidence progress toward learning standards: both my content standards (Arkansas English Language Arts) and NETS for Students. The day before we had discussed what possible digital formats students could use to show artifacts–video, image, audio, scanned document, document…–emphasizing the student must ultimately choose which format best suits the artifact and the student’s purpose. The following day, we had a scheduled literature circle, and one of my students asked if he could use his phone to video his circle’s discussion. He began, with a glimmer in his eye, explaining how a video would be the perfect way to show a particular standard. Our school has a NO PHONE policy–period (reminiscient of the school you describe in your post). I allowed him to use it, going against the policy. I’m hoping, when the students finish the ePortfolios, I can show them to my principal, showing him the possibilities that exist if we allow our students to use the tools they already have.
I honestly think the phone phobia comes from not having been exposed to model projects and activities created with cell phones, projects that go beyond mere frills to projects that truly engender higher level thinking. Many administrators, because they lack background knowledge, can’t see beyond the frills–aimless texting, snapping pics for the simple sake of snapping pics, playing games with little learning value…–of cell phone usage. Many simply do not understand how the phones could be used in a worthwhile fashion.
The big question for me: how do we get them to understand?
John Maklary says
Again, two completely different issues…
1. Desire to change school policies.
2. Student breaking school policy
Are you saying that it’s OK to break school policy just because one doesn’t agree with it?
John Maklary says
I posted a blog entry to respond to this post. I welcome your feedback.
The best part is that the cell phone rule was probably instated with the goal of keeping class from being disrupted. Obviously, the student’s Hamlet message did not disrupt class, since it wasn’t taken up when the message was sent. And if the student didn’t say where he was, would anyone have known?
I’d like to know what I should do in a situation like that. I work on the infrastructure side of schools…if a teacher tells me a story like that, how can I politely question the decision without hitting a wall of “well you’re not a teacher so you wouldn’t understand”?
John Maklary says
So it’s OK to break the stated rules so long as the student doesn’t disrupt class (or get caught)?????
Will Richardson says
The irony here is, of course, that this is the exact thing we should be teaching our kids to do, tap into their networks to get answers to questions when they need them. Not denying there are some following the rules issues at play here, but why are we punishing kids for attempting to use the technologies to learn?
John Maklary says
Will, are you saying that there were no other alternatives to get the information the student needed? At our school, a student in ISS (not very often I’m happy to say) only needs to go to the teacher in charge and ask if they can get a question answered by their teacher. They write it down and it gets passed on to the appropriate teacher and it gets answered, usually within a short amount of time. I suspect that if that student had done that, we wouldn’t be discussing this right now.
I get the impression, sadly, that many of the readers and comments on this topic are saying that creative technology trumps school rules…like there is some sort of moral authority to override policies. While I agree that cell phones could and should be used for many different academic applications, this is not a technology issue nor is it the point of the discussion. It is a teaching issue and what message are we sending to our kids when we openly promote breaking the rules for the sake of using a hip and cool way to communicate with teachers…especially when there are alternatives that would still be within the bounds of the policy?
If the policy stinks, then have a discussion about changing the policy. THAT is how to evoke change and I’m all for that kind of dialog. But that is a different conversation, at least for me.
Steven Kimmi says
First and foremost, reward the kid for reaching out for some help. Talk to him about his question, then discuss the school policy and take the cell phone. That student will probably never trust another one of those teachers again, because when he reached out is hand got slapped. Secondly, administration should look at what happened and reconsider the policy. Cell phones are a hard nut to crack because they can be sued effectively, but there is no way to stop them from being misused. The same is/was true for computers. However, consider how many college students take laptops to class and do everything but pay attention. Maybe this brings about a more difficult question, at what age do we make students responsible for their own learning? If they choose to mess around, isn’t it their own loss? But then what are the implications for the future society?
John Maklary says
I’m blown away that virtually NOBODY has addressed the issue that the student was BREAKING THE RULES! Just because you don’t agree with the rule doesn’t mean that it should be carelessly tossed aside. What I’m hearing from folks commenting is that the school should be learning something from this. Shouldn’t the student learn something as well..like respecting the rules set forth by the school. This is NOT about whether the rules are correct. We, as a society, have to abide by many rules we don’t necessarily agree with. There is a time and a place to challenge policies, rules and procedures. A student serving in-school suspension, openly defying the rules set forth is NOT a good example of promoting change. Unbelievable!
Carl Anderson says
If the student just sat there and threw their hands in the air because using the phone was against the rules, do you think he would be able to effectively evoke any kind of change? How does change happen in our society? I don’t think it happens with passive obedience. What about Rosa Parks? She broke the rules. Should we proclaim that she should have learned her lesson?
John Maklary says
With all due respect, comparing Rosa Parks to this situation is a monumental leap… basic human rights vs. the right to use a cell phone in the classroom.
I look at this from a creative thinking approach. Shouldn’t we teach our kids to try to find solutions that are within the parameters, policies, and rules that are set forth on us? Don’t we do that every day of our lives?
I posed this situation to 16 eighth graders this morning. I asked them what alternatives the student could have used to get what he needed while still “playing by the rules.” Overwhelmingly, they said the student could have written a note or asked the supervising teacher that he had a question and go from there. As I stated in a previous comment, that is how our school handles it and it works fine.
Now, I confess I don’t know how that particular school would handle it and I’ll admit that perhaps, given their knee-jerk reaction, they would have slammed the door on such a request. That, again, is another issue that should be handled and addressed at another, more appropriate time.
Carl Anderson says
I agree, my Rosa Parks example is a bit extreme but what I was trying to get at by using it is change is made by dissent. Open dialog usually only results in platitudes, it doesn’t really change anything. What this student did was show how the cell phone could be used to promote learning. Without breaking this rule and countless other students and teachers breaking this rule this issue is not likely to change because the positive use will not be focused on. It seems like a no brainer to me. This is the way to enact change.
The other question I have with this issue is how did the student connect with the teacher? It seems like for this to happen they would have to already have had an established routine of text messaging in the classroom. Also, if there are no cell phones in school, did they confiscate the teacher’s phone too?
John is right. Breaking the rules you don’t like is a bad idea. The issue isn’t reaching out through technology in new and different ways. Regardless of class-room/cellphone rules, this student was in in-school suspension. I’m not sure about your schools, but in ours, that is a third level method of discipline. Obviously, he was there for some form of infraction. This sounds more like a troubled student who got bored and wanted to ask a pointless question to prove he wasn’t confined by the walls of his in-school suspension.
That’s so right. Staff and students should always follow the rules however much they object to them. The rules are always right. That way people can always declare that they “were just obeying orders”.
Diane Santurri says
This student should be commending for caring and wanting to clarify the homework assignment. While the school policy is important, I think this teacher should have provided the information the student wanted and carefully talked to him about the school policy on cell phone use.
Similar issue. My son has ADD, and has been using a digital voice recorder to keep his assignments, a few weeks after starting a teacher took it because it was against school rules. He is to use his written agenda (which does not work for him). Finally something that works for him. Have now amended his IEP for this. Don’t know what we would have done if he did not have an IEP.
I am not for breaking school rules, but we need to explore what is happening with technology and how students communicate and work.
Tom Gallagher says
Interesting.. that the story does not explain any student effort to have a “live” dialogue with the person on hand at In School Suspension..possible the student couldhave gotten similar information by jsut addressing the person at hand….
sylvia martinez says
Of course the cell phone policy could be better – but it’s not. The student obviously violated school policy, kids do that all the time, but the punishment should fit the crime. If he had stood up and walked out of the detention room to ask for the help, or spray painted “I need help with my Hamlet homework” on a wall, it would (and should) result in another detention.
But that’s not the biggest problem here.
The bigger problem is that the only reaction from the teacher and admin was punitive, not educational. There was enough urgency to rush off “appalled” to the administrator, and the admin rushing to punish. I wasn’t there, so perhaps they did have a quick chat about responding to the student’s request for homework help. But I doubt it.
I think it is an educator’s responsibility to respond to all student outreach on educational matters, even when expressed inappropriately. There could have been a middle road here, but the “crime” became the only focus, not the education.
This has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with misplaced loyalty to the rules over a student’s education.
Will Richardson says
Will, you left out a lot of context here. Was the student in question in in-school suspension for previous cell phone violations? other behavior? This case still smacks of a student trying to avoid the rules and confines of his punishment.
That being said,
“The bigger problem is that the only reaction from the teacher and admin was punitive, not educational.” – Silvia
Carl Anderson says
This story perfectly illustrates one of two major problems I see with schools and their technology policies. It seems to me there are two approaches to technology integration and technology policy that represent polar extremes and are both either missing the point or missing the opportunity.
First, there are those districts that enact policies that inhibit change, that inhibit use of new technologies, and inhibit anything that might upset the status quo. This school seems to fit in this camp. The problem with taking this overprotective “no change,” “no new technologies,” “no cell phones,” “no social networking,” “blog is a four letter word,” approach is we miss opportunities to connect with kids, build relationships, and engage in learning with tools these kids will use in their future. By not allowing students to use these tools we are not allowing teachers to help teach students how to use these tools appropriately or effectively. It seems to me this doctrine is usually based in an underlying fear by teachers of not always being the expert. The kids come to class knowing more about the tools than the teacher. This scares the teacher because somehow they perceive them as a threat to their own status in the classroom.
The other extreme I often see is gung ho districts that promote integration to the point it is misguided. In this case teachers are using tools because they think they need to even though they might not be the correct tools. They also often will feel they need to teach the tool which is equally inappropriate. When you are hired to teach English, Social Studies, Science, etc. you are not there in that classroom as a tech teacher. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let your students use technologies, that means that your status in that classroom is held in place by your knowledge of content, not medium. With the exception of elementary school penmanship classes we do not teach students how to hold a pencil or position the paper when you write, why do we feel we need to teach how to use this tool or that. What this model does is squeeze new tech tools that should reshape teaching strategies and models of learning into old models of instruction. You wouldn’t compose a letter in an Outlook, or any other email program, then print it out and snail mail it to someone, why would you not change your teaching strategies when allowing students to use new tools in your class.
Web 2.0, open source software, grass roots video, cloud computing, VOIP, and hand held communications devices are all disruptive technologies for education and we are missing out if we do not address them as disruptive techologies. By disruptive technologies I mean a new technology that fundamentally changes the way one or more industries operate. The invention of photography in the fundamentally changed the role of the artist. The invention of the cotton gin fundamentally changed to role of both farmer and sharecropper. The rise of the tools I mentioned above are changing education in fundamental ways too. If you feel a teacher’s primary role is to safeguard and convey information to students you will likely find yourself out of a job soon. We have a network of machines that our students know how to tap into that offer far more information than you could ever try to convey in a lecture. If you feel your job is to structure learning within the confines of your classroom within the given time structure than you will most likely find yourself fighting against the nature of learning in a 24/7 connected world. Students no longer have to be bound by the walls and desks of our ivory towers. They can sit at Starbucks or on the beach and learn just as much with a wireless connection and a mobile internet enabled device. In Japan University courses are being offered over the cell phone. What we need to focus on is how to develop safe and healthy technology habits with our students. Beyond that we need to find ways of engaging students in learning activities that connect them with the world in activities that matter. Exercises smexercises, lets get something done. Utilize these disruptive technologies to push the boundaries.
George Briggs says
Carl’s comment on the missed opportunities to “… to connect with kids, build relationships, and engage in learning with tools these kids will use in their future.” is the key point here from my perspective. I believe that it is critical for teachers to address the potential utility of the tools before reacting. Here’s a recent blog post of mine that illustrates some of the positive potential of the “disruptive technology” associated with cell phones:
Being a â€˜digital immigrantâ€™ I had not given much consideration to the utility of IM messaging (â€˜digital nativeâ€™ technology) until I met Julia Spatafora, a young English teacher a few weeks ago who later sent me her M. Ed. Thesis â€œIM Learning 2 Write? A Study on how Instant Messaging Shapes Student Writing.â€
Julia presents a reasoned argument for the use of IM as a starting point in developing literacy skills and Julia states that students â€œâ€¦ use it [instant messaging] every day, and it may be a tool that they will be using in the work force in the future.â€
The following is an excerpt from the abstract of Juliaâ€™s thesis:
â€œThe increasing popularity of Instant Messaging (IM) among adolescents in North America (Kids’ Take On Media, 2003; Lenhart, Ranie & Lewis, 2001; Tagliamonte & Denis, 2006) is prompting two educational debates. One debate contests whether IM is more like speech or writing (e.g. Tagliamonte & Dennis, 2003). The second debate disputes whether IM has a positive or negative effect on school writing (e.g. Oâ€™Connor, 2005). This thesis addresses these debates from a New Literacies Studies (NLS) stance…
The purpose is to examine how IM shapes student writing and perception of literacy. The study focuses on the communication that transpired between five experienced IM usersâ€”one researcher and four adolescent participantsâ€”during a six-week IM writing groupâ€¦
In general, IM provides these students with a new purpose for language, which they perceive as disconnected from school literacy. The findings suggest that IM language is a hybrid of speech and writing, and connecting IM with school writing (both literally and figuratively) may help teachers be more effective in making school writing processes more relevant to studentsâ€™ lives. While making this connection, it is important for teachers to emphasize the plurality of literacies and the importance of revising and editing â€œfinishedâ€ writingâ€¦ â€œ
“Spatafora, J.N. (2008). IM Learning 2 Write? A Study on how Instant Messaging Shapes Student Writing. Master’s thesis, Queen’s University”
Will Richardson says
Thanks for the comment. I’m sure there are lots of folks that would love to see that study. Any chance Julia has already or will share it out?
George Briggs says
I will ask Julia and get back to you.
George Briggs says
Julia presented her thesis at a curriculum conference I ran this weekend (Literacy for 21st Century Learners – more about this on my blog shortly!) and she has given me permission to share with folks. You can access her thesis, written in a blog format at: http://imdeb8.wordpress.com – username: imdeb8visitor, password imdeb8. Have a look – it’s very interesting with lots of research links.
One question, what was the student doing with a teacher’s number? It sounds to me like he was trying to push the envelope.
A. T. Wyatt says
The story said he sent an email to the teacher from his phone. It is not so unlikely that he had her email address.
Don’t you give out numbers to your students and their parents? How are they supposed to contact you?
Gary S. Stager, Ph.D. says
With all due respect, this story has almost nothing whatsoever to do with technology. It has little enough to do with education.
The scenario describes a toxic school where compliance, control and punishment are of greater concern than learning. I ask my graduate students all of the time if they can imagine an environment filled with teenagers where there are no discipline problems.
This is not some fantasy. It is the case in all sorts of social and sport activities outside of school and it is even possible within a school.
My doctoral research proves this. In the alternative learning environment Seymour Papert and I (with a few others) created inside Maine’s prison for teens we did not have a single student who needed to be removed from the classroom for behavioral/discipline reasons in three years. NOT ONCE!
Obviously, this was not the norm for the traditional school in the facility where an “emergency” was averaged every day and kids were routinely exiled from classrooms.
How could this be possible? We created a learning environment complete with a range of interesting things to do, curious adults who loved working WITH children and a philosophy of mutual respect that placed the needs, talents & interests of each student ahead of an arbitrary list of rules or content standards.
Oh yeah, you need to remove all vestiges of academic competition from the school as well.
I recommend that you read a favorite old article of mine, “Who Moved My Stalag?” http://www.districtadministration.com/ViewArticle.aspx?articleid=731
J.D. Williams says
So, what would all of you think if the student had used his cell to call the teachers room phone instead of sending a text to ask his question?
I am currently a sub in middle and high schools and am in the process of switching careers to go into education full time. But in spite of my limited experience, I have formed a strong opinion on this topic.
First of all, do you really think that the teacher was the only person the student had sent a text message to while in ISS? I seriously doubt that. I think it would be more appropriate for the supervising teacher to send an e-mail to the teacher on behalf of the student in order to get help with the assignment.
Personally, I am appalled that students in middle/high school now think that it is their “right” to have their phone, ipod, gameboy or other electronic device in the classroom. Unless an assignment specifically calls for it, they are nothing but a distraction.
To text or not to text? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous school rules…
Martin M-B says
I am in total agreement with the point that these tools can be useful for some assignments. However, there is a big difference between an “anything goes” policy with cell phones, etc. and an assignment-based allowance of technology. Not to mention that not all students have a device and that may put some at a disadvantage.
Computers, cell phones and the internet have certainly been an asset to the workplace, but just look at how they have also proved to be a distraction and have lead to a loss in productivity.
If adults cannot stay focused when using technology and are easily “distracted” (I’m guilty), how can we expect students to be able to do that? Until there is a good “workaround” for how to insure that the devices are used properly and in context of the assignment, I think it is best to “ban” them from the class.
Carl Anderson says
“Until there is a good “workaround” for how to insure that the
devices are used properly and in context of the assignment, I think it is
best to “ban” them from the class.”
Does this go for every device that could be used in the context of an assignment? Does it include computers? The Internet? Pencils? Paper? Hands? Voices? It seems to me that all of these things could also be used inappropriately.
With most of the items you cite, we either have “workarounds” or monitoring that works somewhat. I think most teachers still restrict the use of these devices within the context of the assignment:
If you have a class using a computer lab, do you not monitor them to make sure they are working on the assignment? If you found them browsing sites that are unrelated (MySpace, AllHipHop, PerezHilton) or playing computer games, would you not ask them to focus back on the assignment?
Should we allow uninterrupted note passing in class? Do we allow them to make paper airplanes and footballs instead of reading Hamlet?
Are they allowed to talk to each other constantly during class without consequence? Can they make rude gestures with their hands without consequence?
My point is that we have ways (albeit imperfect) of monitoring these other “devices” in class and we certainly do not allow anything and everything to take place. I think it is more difficult, due to the small size of personal communication devices, to monitor them adequately at this point and I do not see a valid reason to allow them to be brought into the classroom on a daily basis.
Carl Anderson says
Point taken. But, how would the “workaround” for proper cell phone use be any different than the “workaround” for more traditional communication tools in the classroom? The “workaround” does seem to be the key issue if our purpose is to look for a solution. It seems to me that this “workaround” becomes a non issue if we area addressing the deeper issue of how we engage our students in learning. When our kids are deeply engaged in the class content, be it by project-based learning, collaborative work, game-based learning, or some other method, don’t the discipline problems always seem to go away? In my experience there is no need for rules like “no cell phones” if the pedagogy addresses the problem itself.
I think a lot of teachers will say, “no, this is an issue of respect.” Well, this can be addressed by another “workaround” that is integrally tied into pedagogy: building relationships. The teacher-student relationship can solve a lot of problems as well. We need to work more on community building so we can build a foundation for mutual respect and then engage students in learning activities they find meaningful. If this can be achieved in your classroom then there should be no need for such rules banning this or that because the primary goal of each student will be to work on the task at hand. Teachers can let it be known that they don’t appreciate inappropriate use of tools and occasionally will have to redirect a student in their use of such tools but this is a far cry from having an all inclusive (or in this case exclusive) discipline policy.
Get to know your students, take interest in what they find important, and engage them in meaningful learning activities related to the course content drawing from their interests and experiences. Allow students to choose their own tools for completion of tasks and to facilitate learning. Occasionally share tools you have found and encourage them to do the same. Establish your position in the classroom as that of lead learner by valuing knowledge that each student brings to the table and encourage them to share that knowledge with the rest of the class (including the lead learner). In such a learning environment kids using cell phones to reach out for help on homework would be rewarded because their innovative use of the technology to overcome obstacles to learning would be celebrated and shared with the whole learning community. Actually, in such a learning environment the student probably would not be in ISS in the first place.
John Maklary says
Carl, while I agree with your philosophy of meaningful engagement of students, I think the tone of the comments (not just yours) posted takes a snapshot of what happened in that particular incident and tries to extrapolate that into the entire school culture. That is hardly fair. If you are a teacher and a student openly defies you (as in this case), are you going to give him a hug and say “attaboy, way to think outside the box?” My guess is no. I suspect that it’s easy to postulate a Utopian scenario of student empowerment when you yourself are not the teacher. WE don’t know the circumstances of the incident…why was the student in ISS in the first place? Why did he defy the teacher/principal request to hand the phone over? It does sound like the policy is clear (regardless of whether you and I think it’s right).
I guess my response to Will’s post was more about the responsibility of the student to play within the governing rules, just like in real life. It just amazes me that so many folks are cheerleading this student when we should be trying to teach them appropriate (and effective) ways to disagree with authority and to promote change that is respectful in tone. This is about teaching the whole student. It is NOT about the technology. That, my friend, is the subject for another post IMHO.
Carl Anderson says
“we should be trying to teach them appropriate (and effective) ways to disagree with authority and to promote change that is respectful in tone.”
How are you sure the student was disrespectful? I suspect the student’s refusal to give up his cell phone was a reaction to feeling attacked for doing something he probably felt appropriate.
What part of the message he sent sounded disrespectful?
â€œHi Mrs. Smith. This is John. I had a question about the Hamlet homework you assigned. I am texting you from my cell phone in [in-school suspension].â€
Is it disrespectful to ask questions? To ask for help? Does asking for help somehow imply that the initial instruction was not good enough and therefore is seen as a sign of disrespect? Please help me understand how this student was being disrespectful.
True, we don’t know all the details or the circumstances of the situation, we can only go by what Will posted. I don’t think the purpose of this discussion is to critique one singular instance. What this discussion is about is the countless incidents that occur in “Normal” High Schools everyday. For that matter this whole incident could be considered entirely hypothetical.
Also, in what way was what I described utopian? To say something is utopian is to imply it does not hold any realistic expectations of ever working, that it ignores realities. How are relationship building and student engagement not realistic expectations of every teacher? Of every learner? The only way these ideals are not realistic is if the teacher (and the system supporting teachers) holds to the belief that the teacher and the ivory towers they operate out of are the sole proprietors of knowledge and understanding and should control how learning happens. If we hold to the “sage on the stage” ideology then my vision of a learning environment by no means could ever exist because it gives control of learning back to the student and recognizes the innate qualities of the student, of the human mind, to want to learn, to want to pursue knowledge, to want to share with others, to want to participate in communities where their own learning is valued on their own terms (not someone else’s terms).
Education is an interesting profession. Everyone is an expert because everyone has gone through the system. Those who do well in the system are qualified to teach in the system. This insures that certain biases toward learning, teacher-student relationships, knowledge, pedagogy, and yes rules remains intact. Does what happened to this student reflect these biases. Teachers tend to teach the way they were taught, not the way their students learn best. If we base our school rules on what is necessary to establish and maintain a certain pedagogy or an environment for that pedagogy to appear to work then we are only supporting this bias. If we look at it that way what happened to the student was equally disrespectful.
“In such a learning environment kids using cell phones to reach out for help on homework would be rewarded because their innovative use of the technology to overcome obstacles to learning would be celebrated and shared with the whole learning community. Actually, in such a learning environment the student probably would not be in ISS in the first place.”
I want to work at that school 😉
John Maklary says
“How are you sure the student was disrespectful?”
Easy one.. he was disrespectful of the rules set forth by the school. I’m not defending the rules..they are open for debate IMO. Let’s not forget that.
“I suspect the studentâ€™s refusal to give up his cell phone was a reaction to feeling attacked for doing something he probably felt appropriate.”
OK, HE may have felt it was appropriate but wasn’t the school policy clear that no cell phones were permitted? Why is that not being acknowledged? He wasn’t being attacked, he was being held accountable for blatantly disregarding a school policy (whether you agree with it or not, it’s still a policy).
“What part of the message he sent sounded disrespectful?”
Hello! It wasn’t the message itself! It was the WAY he tried to circumvent a stated policy, as I’ve stated numerous times. There’s a productive way to evoke change and this student decided to alienate the staff by doing an end-around. Do you really think the student has any cred left to make a positive stand on an issue he obviously cares about?
OK, I can’t continue on like this, I have to teach…my last word on this topic..
1. I AM for alternative technologies in the classroom, cell phones included. In fact, several students use Gcast and their cell phone to podcast notes from classes. They do this within the context of the policies set forth by the school. If they go out of bounds, they are subject to disciplinary action.
2. I AM for evoking change in the culture of schools. BUT, it MUST be done in a way not to push or alienate other students and/or staff AND not fly smack in the face of acceptable behavior. Would we expect anything less from ourselves if we were to initiate a change?
Enough said. Carl and I, I’m afraid, will have to agree to disagree on this. I need to remove myself from this conversation now.
I am a junior at a high school in Arkansas. After visiting my teacher one morning before school, she told me about this blog post, and I had to jump into the discussion!
After first period Pre-AP Pre-Calculus, I went to study hall and promptly began my homework that was just assigned. However, I ran into problems as soon as I started to work. So, I asked our study hall teacher if I could go see my math teacher for help. She allowed me to go, and I did. When I got to his classroom, I noticed that he was teaching, and, not wanting to disrupt his class, went back to study hall. Another thought popped into my head: text his email, tell him that I need help, and let him reply when he has a free minute. However, I didn’t. I just decided to wait and waste time until I thought of something else to do. This just makes me glad that I didn’t text him!
Heaven forbid we use technology in an educational setting; we only live in the 21st century here!
The sad thing about this kid is that he never got the help that he needed. I, on the other hand, was more fortunate.
@ Jennifer: At our school, the best, most caring teachers are the ones who give you their cell phone number and tell you to call if you need anything. They are the ones who take time out of their night to help you. They are the ones who want you to succeed at all costs. (For the record, I have the phone numbers, cell and/or home, of 3 of my 6 teachers. And I–and a hand full of other students–call them without hesitation.)
Tracy Adrian says
I am the Tech Coordinator for our school and I fought hard to implement a “curriculum-related, teacher-directed” caveat in our electronic device policy. A teacher has the freedom to give permission for students to use electronic devices in his/her class for curriculum-related purposes. It ranges from using cellphone cameras to post images on a webpage to listening to ipods during art class for creative inspiration.