Friday, November 12, 2010

Cell phones in the classroom...?

There are many advocates for the use of cell phones in the classroom. Mainly technology centric education folks. Mostly educators...

I'm not saying I'm against it, I'm just not sure the advocacy for their use meshes with the view of non-educators, primarily the parents.

I teach elementary school so admittedly the audience I am most familiar with is one generally without cell phones to begin with. There isn’t much of a need for a 5 or 6 year old to have a phone.

We recently had Parent-Teacher conferences. What I found interesting from my discussion with parents has nothing to do with cell phones but everything to do with technology use in general. Even in this day and age many parents still restrict computer use at home. What I heard most frequently was something along the lines of "I don't want them getting used to sitting in front of a computer, I want them to have non-connected experiences."

They understand the value of the digital age, they live it, they just want to stave off the digital overload a little longer.

The parents of my students fall, generally, into the connected, progressive, 21st Century, digital domain. They have iPhones and Blackberrys. They are graphic designers, web developers, and IT professionals. They read blogs, and I'm sure some of them blog too. Yet I find it interesting the overwhelming sentiment is "we don't want our kids to end up like us, addicted to the devices."

So it begs the question, are we as educators pushing for something the parents of our students don't want? Shouldn't we be polling parents instead of trying to convince other educators to join the ranks of "cells in the classroom, yeah!"

(Shouldn't I have polled the parents? Yes, but it only dawned on me during the conferences that so many parents limited their child's digital time. I plan a survey for next time.)

Are there any parent surveys/studies out there to give us a sense of how parents view the use of cell phones in the classroom? Not studies on cells in school, there are plenty of studies showing overwhelmingly parents want their children to be able to carry phones to school, for contact and emergency purposes. But are there any studies or surveys of parents on their students actually using cells in the classroom learning in environment?

Maybe the sentiment is different in the upper grades, but the sense I'm getting from the K-5th grade level (5-10 year olds) is "let's not turn our children into the digital addicts we've become just yet." Makes me question the concept of "digital native." But that is for another post....

We always talk about communication in education. Reaching out to parents and including them in their child's education. It seems obvious educators want the ability to teach with cell phones. How do parents feel? Shouldn't someone be asking them?

No comments:

Post a Comment