As recently as the 2012–2013 school year, schools in the Thomaston-Upson School System in Georgia banned the use of cell phones on school grounds. But in the new 2013–2014 school year, students will be free to use their phones in the classroom as the school district softens its ban, reports the Thomaston Times.
“We realize it is more us getting comfortable with them using the devices than it is them getting used to using the devices,” said Dr. Larry Derico, director of curriculum and instruction for Thomaston-Upson. “So it is up to us as adults to start adjusting to their world. Right now we are doing them a disservice by not allowing them to use the devices. Even in our everyday world, we practically can’t live without them. Yet we’re telling our students, who were practically born into this technology age, that no, they can’t use them to enhance their learning.”
Now, the school has gone from banning cell phones outright to strategically considering their integration into the classroom. Administrators didn’t come to this decision lightly, and they spent time observing and consulting with other school districts that had successfully rolled out bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives, according to the Thomaston Times article.
For many ed-tech enthusiasts, Thomaston-Upson’s move is an overdue step in the right direction. And the school district isn’t alone in doing a 180 on its cell phone policy.
In Guilford, Conn., the school board is debating an update to its current policy that would allow students and teachers to use mobile devices in the classroom, reports WWLP.com.
“This is the opportunity for teachers to work with students but the teachers are still able to decide when that happens and when it doesn't,” said one board member.
Many other school districts have torn down the wall, so to speak, when it comes to mobile technology. In fact, a recent survey showed that 85 percent of educational institutions already allow some form of BYOD on school grounds.
So in this case, we might be witnessing the remaining old guard joining the rest of the mobile mavens.
Does your school district still have a cell phone ban in place? Let us know in the Comments section.