Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Fictional 21st Century Technology (Cell Phone) Policy

An idea hit me today as I looked at the list of cell violations I have witnessed in the past two months. It’s time to write a common-sense cell phone policy for schools. Maybe this is how it should read.

The administration of this school recognizes that life in the 21st century means that citizens enjoy technological advantages that previous generations have not enjoyed. We at Cutting Edge High School embrace all technology as a normal appendage of our lives. For that reason, we encourage our students to use all technologies rather than ban them. As our students use technology, the only thing we ask in return is:

  • Students use it wisely and judiciously.
  • Students be considerate of other people when they engage in its use.
  • Students recognize that increased freedom in the use of technology requires increased responsibility.

For this reason, we invite our students to use technology and use it often and everywhere. The only violations of technology use in this school are:

  • Engaging in its use when you have been asked to be engaged in other tasks. (Off Task Use)
  • Engaging in the use of technology to negatively impact others. (Examples: cyberbullying, name-calling, etc.)
  • Engaging in its use for any immoral or illegal purpose.
  • Engage in its use when it is considered bad manners and distracting.

Now I realize the wording and language needs work, but I think it’s time to have common-sense approaches to technology in general and cell phones specifically. Policies should seek to embrace student use, to do otherwise is either an exercise in futility or contrary to 21st century thinking. Policies should also focus on what the real issues that can arise from technology use instead of blanket bans. By opening the school house doors to all technology use, we are then in a position to teach our students ethics and values regarding its use.

I plan to keep thinking on this idea of a technology (cell phone) policy that embraces technology but also protects our students and teaches them to make the right choices. After all, we want our students to be good citizens in the 21st century.

1 comment:

  1. The problem isn't a missing policy, the problem is the policy.

    Why do we always feel we need a "policy" to govern those elements that can be used for both appropriate and inappropriate reasons, depending on the context?

    Do students enjoy and want to use cell phones in school? Yes.

    Do students that intend to use them appropriately outnumber the ones that have less appropriate ideas for their cell phones? I think so.

    So here's the ultra-simple plan as I see it. One rule- in class, cell phones must be kept in plain view on student's desks. All are encouraged to use them for educational purposes. When they're not, teachers correct them.

    Don't worry about the hurtful things that cell phones can be used for, cyber-bullying, cheating etc... if you don't see them yourself so you can rectify the situation, one of the majority of students who intend not to lose the priveledge of using his/her cell phone will let you know soon enough.

    A culture of trust is required to get the cell phone issue out of the closet... as long as students think there is a dark, forboden side to cell phone use, that's how they'll continue to try to use them.