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Can You Hear Me Now?

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The previous post may make you question whether students should be allowed to bring cell phones to school, but Will Richardson has a different view. For Richardson, just back from a visit to an NYC high school, school cell-phone bans make little economic or educational sense, from a big-picture perspective. The goal, he says, should to be teach kids how to use phones constructively for learning:

To me, this is the vision thing again. In a school where there are about 300 computers for 3,000 students, doesn’t it make more sense to get creative about not only how we might use phones in the classroom but teach phones and phone use in the curriculum? I mean, are the economies worth working toward a solution of the “disruption” problem? And I’m sorry, but I just believe that if we show kids from an early age the appropriate and effective use of the technology, if we make it a valuable and necessary part of the way they do their school business, the widespread disruptions will abate.
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My Phone Is No Phone

During a session with one of my student's she paused in the middle of statement, and took her cell phone out of her pocket, saying, "Can you hold on for a minute?" I said, "Sure!" She proceeded to have this strange conversation, when I realized that there was no one on the other end. I asked her, "Excuse me, but what was that about?" She said, "I had to call my Dad." I said, "O.K. what did he has to say." "He said, that I had to come straight home from school." I said, "O.K., but can you please tell me why there was no one on the other end of that phone talking with you, and what was the purpose of what you just did?" She said to me, "If my phone did work, I knew that my Dad would call me, and tell me what to do." My reply to her was, "Well, sweetie if you wanted to call your Dad why didn't you let me know? We could ask your teacher to let you use the school phone." Her reply to me was; "I can't let everyone know that my service is not operating." So, you tell me! Is a phone a "fad", or a necessity? Because if it is a necessity I agree that it should be effectively used in connection with education, and accessing the Information Highway.

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