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Md. District Restricts Cellphone, Facebook Use

If you're a student in Prince George's Co., Md., you'd better not post photos of the big game, concert or dance on your Facebook page, according to a Washington Post report today.

While a new cellphone ban in the 130,000-student district just outside Washington is gaining local attention for restricting phone use from the school day's first bell to its last, it will also prohibit posting photographs taken on school property onto social networking sites. An earlier Post story notes that other policies in the region are more lenient, generally allowing students to keep phones on silent during class time and use them for lunchtime calls.

The move by the nation's 18th-largest district is a blow against the mobile learning movement, which encourages the use of cellphones and social media to enhance in-class learning. And, in my view, it's a bit shortsighted, especially with regards to Facebook. I'm not saying schools shouldn't have some right to restrict what students post online, especially if it's from an in-class activity. But clubs, music ensembles and sports teams all meet on school property, and under this restriction, would all be prohibited from posting the type of content that can help direct students to online resources after school hours.

If the pros and cons of mobile learning interest you, check out this year's Technology Counts report, which explores ways teachers and administrators are trying to incorporate mobile devices into virtual learning.

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