Et tu, Arne?

by Robert Pondiscio
July 9th, 2009

The Secretary of Education thinks schools should be encouraging cell phone use in class? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

5 Comments »

  1. Local police agree with my theory but also agree that it won’t be tested. When investigating murders, cell phones usage is noted. Although individual records must remain confidential, we need to data-mine the cell phone communications of murdered students and dropouts. If we could take a look at who was juicing up who before the murders, then I bet we’d find that cell phones contribute a great deal to the bloodshed. Why ban guns from schools if we aren’t going to ban the technology that make guns so much more deadly?

    Comment by john thompson — July 9, 2009 @ 11:30 am

  2. While this might not qualify as using cell phones in class, I did just hear a compelling argument for cell phones at today’s H1N1 flu summit. A school nurse from New York (I believe) described the situation she faced when some 150 of her school’s students all suddenly came down with fevers and other flu symptoms last April. Because so many students had cell phones on hand, they were able to call their parents. This would have been impossible on the school’s telephone system.

    Had the nurse been on a campus banning cell phones, she told the audience, she does not know what she would have done.

    It’s a stretch, but I thought I’d share….

    Comment by Claus — July 9, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

  3. Do y’think the school will pay for my cell phone? Because I simply can’t afford one. I know, it seems outrageous in this day and age, but it’s true – in my area, for my usage, a land-line is cheaper. What seems more ridiculous is that I don’t have a telephone in my own classroom, nor any place in the school besides the copy room to make private home calls from. The phone, alas, is right next to the never-resting copy machine.

    I’d just love to keep up with all the technology in education. I have a computer at home but most of my students don’t. I don’t have a cell phone – most of my students do. And never the twain shall meet, or something like that, eh?

    Comment by Redkudu — July 9, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

  4. Aww, come on. Arne was talking about student nurses “downloading content,” not thinking about high school kids making more convenient drug deals. The idea is mobile devices that let you access information easily, and the presumption is that information–”content”–is the centerpiece of education.

    Over the years, any number of things have been banned in schools, little Prohibitions that force kids to develop clever ways to acquire and conceal the forbidden item. Back in 80s, calculators were forbidden in my school system. Laptops are still not allowed, nor are they permitted in some of my grad classes (the professors find them distracting–and it’s all about the professor, right?)– and iPods (which I think are a vastly better way of accessing content than cell phones) will be permanently confiscated if seen. Arne’s just trying to be tech-progressive. Next thing you know, we’ll see him dancing in a train station flashmob on YouTube.

    My children drove to high school. These days, the “right” high school may some distance from home, and not accessible by big yellow bus. Both were armed with cell phones (which had to be muted and concealed during the day). Sending your 16-year old out on the freeway during morning rush hour is a scary thing, indeed. And I agree with John Thompson in one regard–when everyone understands that cell phone data can be mined, it may change the deal crime planners, and will certainly increase the power of those investigating crimes.

    Comment by Nancy Flanagan — July 10, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  5. It is worth noting that the source article is clearly focused on higher ed. That’s a different animal than asking my 9th graders to pull out their cell phones every day in class… we’re not talking drug deals here, but another way to more efficiently deliver content in the education process. Is this the wisest way? I’m not sold yet, but why not consider it for a future option?

    Comment by Mark Gardner — July 10, 2009 @ 11:29 am

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