"Voice and text communication devices are to be turned off and out of sight inside the school from 8:00am to 3:30pm."
"The use of photographic, voice and video recording devices is not permitted at school or school sponsored events"
Before I raise questions about these signs, I must admit the following:
- I was not in the school during regular school hours so I was unable to observe whether students respected the policies and how the staff responded to students who violated these policies.
- Although I'm not certain, I don't believe these are district policies. I believe these policies originate from school-based decisions since I have not seen these signs posted in other high schools within the same district.
- I do not know whether these policies were developed in reaction to specific situations
- I do not know whether these policies apply to staff as well as students
- We have an active group of photography students at Delta Secondary who can be regularly seen taking photos in different areas of the school both during and outside of regular school hours. How would a photography class exist within this type of environment?
- Teachers at many schools such as ours are exploring how these mobile devices can be used in a productive manner in the classroom to enhance student learning. Some students have been using their smartphones as a research tool, some for text polling and others to listen to student-created podcasts. A recent article titled Mobile goes Mainstream points out many educators' changing perceptions to accept the use of mobile technology in the classroom.
- The fact that "Voice and text communication devices are to be turned off and out of sight inside the school" but appear to be acceptable outside of the school points to a disconnect between the worlds inside and outside of school.
- Isn't it a school's responsibility to help students learn to regulate the appropriate use of these mobile electronic devices?
- Shouldn't we be exploring when, where and how students can use their electronic devices in positive and productive ways?
- If students are so engaged in using their electronic devices during class time, what does that say about their level of engagement in what they should be learning during class?
Is there a magic policy around mobile devices that every school should apply all the time? Definitely not. But, I do believe there is a time and a place for everything, electronic devices included.
I invite your comments and would love to hear ways in which your students are using mobile technology to support their learning.