April 23, 2007

This is what we are dealing with

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:17 pm

Last week, the CBC asked for viewer feedback on the recent ban of Toronto school boards on cellphones. I weighed with this comment:

I’m not surprised by these comments. Most parents and educators are stuck in an old model of education where the teacher is in full control of the learning and disruption is a bad thing.

Cellphones have the potential of computers. Good and bad. Good teachers understand how to use technology for learning. The cellphone is already being used in powerful learning ways. I understand most readers think of them as disruptive and in no way educational. A desktop computer is no different.

In addition to the potential for learning, the recent events in Virginia will likely prompt increased use.

To those that talk about potential of cheating….I would hope that good teachers are not spending most of their time having kids answer questions that require rote answers. Learning needs to go deeper than that.

Why are we asking kids to learn the provincial capitals when Google gives you that answer in less than 1 second? I’m not saying knowledge isn’t important but the emphasis on assessing and evaluating students shouldn’t be here. It should be on a higher order thinking and performance that cannot be shared by a simple text message.

My ideal world has each student with a laptop, cellphone, ipod and whatever they need.

How ’bout you go to work tomorrow without these tools?

If you read the majority of the 52 comments you’ll see parents, teachers and students opinions clearly support the ban. In fact, I can’t find one advocating the use of cellphones in the classroom. I was a bit shocked by this and marveled at how the conversation could only speak of the use of cellphones under the traditional educational environment.  The possibility of a reformed educational system is a best just talk and at worst not even in the radar.  As my own school division contemplates budget cuts, I worry about the efforts to maintain status quo as being something to strive for. Yikes!

The possibility that student would voluntarily bring to class a computing device, be it a cellphone, laptop, ipod or handheld that could be leveraged for learning is just not being seen largely because it really involves a shift of power and control. We’re not close to being ready for that.  I know you already knew that, but I was just brought back to reality again.

[tags]cellphones, ban, Toronto, CBC, shareski[/tags]