The “No Cell Phone” policy which so many schools still have in place just doesn’t make sense to me. Why? Because the phone of today is, well… no longer a phone.
Yes, phones are phones. But they are also…
- planners so kids can keep track of all their assignments.
- research tools to quickly find facts, reference info, and the such.
- blah, blah, blah. (Really, if I kept listing and listing all the possibilities of today’s phones, I’d never be able to stop typing right now and get to my bigger idea.)
The point is, the phone of today has evolved into a pocket computer of immense dimensions. In fact, it often operates as the central operational tool for many, many people’s lives. Especially the people who make the “No Cell Phone” policies for our school districts. (Can you even imagine the district personnel without their Blackberries? What would the Asst. Supt do without their iPhone? My goodness, how would so much of the dysfunction continue to amble along if not for these devices? Alas, I stray.)
Virtually 90% of the white collar workers I know who earn six-figure salaries are absolutely dependent on their cell phones. Phones have literally evolved into an indispensable business tool and yet, in all this college readiness talk we hear all the time, we seem to have this wall of hypocrisy separating our stated aims from our actual implemented policies. To be “college ready” means to be able to function in a wired world with proficiency and aptitude. (I am not sure when it happened entirely, I am not sure if they sent out a memo but in this day and age, the two ideas are almost inextricably wed.)
College applications are online, college schedules are online, college financial aid info, professor office hours, and on and on… what isn’t online in today’s college world? The move towards entirely paperless is afoot! Not sure if it will ever reach 100% saturation but it is semi-fascinating to witness the laptop give way to the smart phone and the tablet computer.
And we have a front row seat.
Th irony is not lost that the people who swear that “cell phones in the hands of today’s middle and high school kids is a poor idea” are the same people who would be professionally neutered if you took away their own cell phones.
Is fear of texting really a sufficient reason to ban cell phones? We don’t ban pencil and paper just because the kids may write notes to one another and doodle.
Yet, by this same logic, we ban cell phones. (A ban, which BTW, is hardly working. Kids HAVE cell phones. And their parents are the ones who most often bought these phones for them.) It just seems smarter to teach them how to wisely use the devices as opposed to trying make the students of today “put that thing away before I take it!”
Having a keen facility with these devices is going to eventually be really, really, critical for the students of tomorrow
In fact, in many ways, it already is for the most cutting edge students of today. Let’s harness the educational power of technology instead of suppressing it. Times have changed and the phone of even 3 years ago is not the phone of today.