The School Committee took up the discussion of cell phones in the classroom last night. This is a very complex topic and the answer is not as cut and dry as one would think. The policy currently dictates that cell phones must be stored away in lockers. No decision was made on changing the policy and I recommend that the committee take this up again and decide cautiously.
During my campaign I championed for innovative technological upgrades in our schools, and I agree with School Committee members Novick and Foley, that cell phones in the classroom could be a step in the right direction towards a more technologically sound classroom. However, on the flip side of that, I tend to agree with Mr. Monfredo and Mr. O’Connell that more often than not these cellphones are a distraction in the classroom.
If used correctly they could be an asset to learning in the classroom, by using them as calculators, search engines for research or even capturing “Tweetable Moments” in classrooms where projects are being done and the students want to share their experiences.
However, a NEA Today opinion poll taken earlier this year proved the same mixed results and a teacher added this “ (having a cellphone in the classroom) just becomes a source of distraction for some students, because no matter how many times you repeat the rule that they can only be on technology when the teacher says it’s ok, they choose to ignore the rule and then disciplinary actions have to be enforced.” and in some cases we have seen the reaction from the students when their phones are taken away turn ugly.
I’m glad that a decision on this was not rushed because there are many factors to consider when lifting this ban. Personally, I am not completely against it. I would like to get the input of the student body, which did speak at the meeting last night, teachers and parents. If the School Committee does decide to remove the ban there needs to be an airtight policy, and strict accountability. It cannot just be and open cell phone policy. We must support teachers dealing with cell phone distractions.
I’m quite certain this will come up again, Just text me when it does.
Nick can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org