If I Made You Feel Second Best, Cellphone I’m Sorry I Was Blind, You Were Always on My Mind

Debate #6: Cellphones Should Be Banned in the Classroom
(Week #5: Post #2)

Looking Forward to Hearing from YOU!

person standing while using phone
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This is an especially interesting topic to me, and I think that most people fall on one side or the other, and only a few fall right down the middle. I am interested to hear what other people have to say about this topic, especially how their own experiences have shaped their feelings. I know that there are a few of us in the course that aren’t social media users, and there are also a few that are very active, so it’s always interesting to see what people have to say. I think that both of the topics for this week fit together nicely, and I think that points brought up this week could be interchanged for either debate. Very interesting, indeed!

Hip-Hip-Hooray Debate

On the agree side of the debate we heard from Echo, Lovepreet, and Amanpreet who presented us with the following resources: Banning Mobile Phones from Classrooms (article), Changing Our Mindset in Regards to Cellphones in the Classroom (article), and Cell Phones, Student Rights, and School Safety: Finding the Right Balance (article). To view their opening statement, check it out here.

Some of the main points that the group addressed are the following:

  • Cellphones are Addictive & Distracting
  • Technology Companies are Harvesting, Collecting, Sharing, and Selling Data and Personal Information
  • Regulation is Difficult
  • Provides Opportunities for Distracted Learning
  • Promotes No-Mobile Phobia (Nomophobia)

No Way! Debate

The disagree side was brought to us by Bret, Reid, and Leona, who presented us with the following resources: Should Students Be Allowed to Use Cellphones in Schools (video), I Hate the No Cellphones in School Rule (video), Developing Student Critical Consciousness: Twitter as a Tool to Apply Critical Literacy in the English Classroom (article), Cellphones at School: Should They Be Allowed? (article), and finally, Cellphones in School: 11 Reasons Why They Should Be Allowed (article). Check out their opening statement video here.

Some of the main points that our group addressed are the following:

  • Lessens the Digital Divide Gaps in the Classroom
  • Promotes Collaborative Learning and Engagement
  • Phones are a Way of Life
  • Perfect for Teaching Kiddos in a Safe and Controlled Environment
  • Promotes Good Digital Citizenship Learning

A Few Thoughts & Interpretations

I have been teaching for over a decade now (let’s not put an actual number to the years… you know… aging myself and all), and I’ve seen quite the pendulum swing from one side to the other, and back again on several topics. This is one of those topics that seems to trend every few years. I have seen both extremes of promoting whole-heartedly the BYOD (bring your own device) philosophy, to the other extreme of absolutely no cellphones. But where do I stand on this topic you may ask?

person using smartphone
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Well, if used properly and with the right policies in place, BYOD is super helpful to bridge the access and digital divide gaps that we see in our schools. I found that the best way to approach this, is to have a school-wide policy that discusses the importance of technology, what proper technology looks like, and appropriate versus inappropriate places to use the technology (such as the bathroom, etc.). It’s important that students know that there are consistent rules across the older grades especially, and there is also then an accountability piece to it as well. Again, teaching that digital citizenship and etiquette piece. If students are taking pictures of others, what happens to their technology privileges and so on. This is important to set up at the beginning of the school year and then revisited often.

photo of woman and boy sitting on couch while using tablet computer
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Along with the school-wide policy, then discussing it in the classroom is important. Talking about what good technology does and does not look like with concrete examples is fundamental. Technology is not leaving the hands of our kiddos, and it’s important that they are learning how to use it properly. Like Jennifer talked about in her opening video, we don’t throw kids in a pool if they don’t know how to swim. We teach them how to swim, give constant reminders and support for swimming techniques and safety, and gradually release them, with constant supervision for many years. So why do we put some of the most constantly changing social media platforms into the hands of kiddos and expect that they are going to be angels 100% of the time? This is an unrealistic and harmful approach to digital citizenship and helping kiddos learn.

Again, I strongly agree that with good pedagogical practices and good procedures and policies in place (that are not too rigid that it takes all creativity away from teachers, etc.) BYOD in the classroom is advantageous to both staff and students and allows a greater spread of access to technology and the internet. Is there more for teachers to regulate? I guess so, but kiddos are going to access social media regardless of what device they are using, school-provided or not, and we need to do a better job of educating kiddos about proper uses of technology and how they can be good digital citizens.

Embrace It, or Toss It?

calm ethnic female throwing hat while standing in sea
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As always, thanks for popping by. I know all Y’all are super busy, especially with yearend looming and report cards coming in hot! Feel free to leave a general comment, answer one (or more if you’d like) of the below-prompting questions, or simply like this post! Happy blogging Y’all! Hang in there!

  1. Have you ever experienced a school-wide technology policy? If so, what were some of the benefits and downfalls of it? Or, what would you have changed and why?
  2. How do you feel about BYOD initiatives in your own classroom?
  3. Do you have a different opinion about BYOD initiatives as a parent?
  4. What is the greatest reason you have for not encouraging BYOD in your classroom?
  5. Were there any points that you wish either side had dug deeper into? If so, how do you think this would have changed the overall debate?

8 thoughts on “If I Made You Feel Second Best, Cellphone I’m Sorry I Was Blind, You Were Always on My Mind

  1. Kelly, I appreciate your thoughts and views about using technology in the classroom. It’s always great to read your post. I agree with the point of teaching and learning about Digital Citizenship to our students. However, before making our children understand the usage of technology, I believe, Educators and Parents should have good knowledge about it. We cannot stop our kids from using technology these days but with proper guidance and support, it can be used in proper manner.

    1. Gunpreesh, I see what you are saying, however, I don’t think that people need to have a good understanding of how to use a certain piece of technology to show that digital citizenship is important. I look at the case with my parents who are digital visitors, even though they have a basic understanding of technology, their teachings about being good citizens were reflected in the digital world. We can’t expect every generation to know what the next one does, just like we can’t expect the current generation to keep up with the past one. I think we all need to work on being good citizens and then apply that basic knowledge to the digital world–obviously it’s more complicated than that, but it’s a start.

  2. Thanks for your insightful post.
    I would like to address your first question regarding school wide policies. I have never worked within one regarding cell phone use. In my personal experience this creates a lot of confusion and inconsistency. On one hand each teacher is allowed more professional autonomy, but in practice this leads to a patchwork of rules that teachers are ultimately forced to defend from the dreaded “parent phone call.” I am not sure why school wide policies are not more widespread, but I suspect that administrators do not want to engage in these battles with all the other responsibilities that fall to them.

    With regards to your last question I would have liked the pro-banning side to speak more to the environmental impact technology use is having, and how encouraging its constant is having an impact on climate change and human rights in developing countries (where most of our technology is produced).

    1. Thanks for stopping in Matthew, and speaking to a point that you wish the agree side would have addressed. I wonder if they had spoken more about the environmental side of things if it would have swayed people into thinking the opposite than they did in the end. Even though 60 minutes seems like a lot of time on paper, it sure went fast! I think human rights would be an interesting point to discuss in this debate as well. Again, thanks for stopping in and leaving some great feedback and wonderings!

  3. Hi Kelly, just a thought on your question about a school wide policy. The last school I was at had a strict no cell-phone policy that was school wide. Before that there were quite a few issues of inappropriate behaviour and bullying going on during school hours via Snapchat. Once the ban was implemented, the behaviours at the school slowed down, but continued when the students went home. Unfortunately, even though we has a no phone policy the bullying, and inappropriate behaviour from outside school hours would spill over into the next day and carry on. I think what this illustrates is the importance of educating the students about the implications of their online behaviour, and the situations they can find themselves in. Banning phones in school does not solve the over-arching problem. Like you I believe that BYOD policies can be helpful and effective if done properly.

    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head with that one, Jessica. Even though our schools either create policies, let students bring them or ban them altogether, there is still the learning piece that needs to take place, or else it continues to happen, just outside of our teaching day. We all know that even when it happens outside of school, it often leaks into our teaching time and is put onto our plates as educators. I think too often when kiddos find themselves in trouble, they often do not realize that their actions in fact have consequences, and sometimes, really big ones. When our kiddos are making adult decisions as kiddos, there are often adult consequences that some are unaware of. I strongly believe in proactive learning, especially around digital citizenship and responsible technology use.

  4. I appreciated your insight into this debate. I have discussed technology with you for several hours, and I always enjoy hearing your thoughts. I agree that we need open communication with kids and teach them how to properly implement technology into many areas of their life with healthy boundaries. Students will always have technology in their personal life, and school is a great place to educate kids on how to use it as a tool rather than a distraction properly.

    Thank you for your post!

    1. You’re right, Durston! Healthy boundaries are very important to build, establish and reinforce in the world of teaching, especially with technology. Open communication is a great way to do this in a positive and constructive way. Students will always have technology around them in some capacity, and we need to be proactive rather than reactive in terms of teaching, practicing, and learning how to use technology properly, wisely, and while being a good digital citizen. Thanks for popping by, always nice hearing from you!

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