It is my opinion that mobile phones under the BYOD policy not be banned in schools; these devices should be used to enhance learning in students comfort zones. As previous attempts to ban phone use in schools proves that not only do students object; it is also the parents who object. Rubenstein (2006) reported that after announcing the ban of mobile phones in a New York school, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the target of furious protests from parents who insisted they retain the ability to call their children during the school day.
Johnson (2012) suggests that phones can help students learn by providing benefits in note taking, organising their schedule in a calendar and using their camera to document images for their studies (p.140). I note that phones can also act as a distraction for student’s texting friends and accessing their personal social media accounts; while this will be hard to police in classrooms I believe the most appropriate way to mitigate and reduce distractions will be to establish a set of classroom rules. I mentioned in a previous blog post on Cyberbullying that I would work with students at the start of each unit to scaffold and agree on classroom rules covering Netiquette and Work Health and Safety; these rules will also include device use. Hertz (2014) suggests that we should be deliberately teaching students how to manage their attention with their devices. Hertz (2012) also makes reference to effective strategies in having devices in the classroom these being, asking students to lower their devices for classroom instruction and modeling activities, along with allowing students to listen to music throughout their independent work. As a pre-service Design and Technology teacher I can visualise these strategies being effective in my classroom.
Rubenstein, G. 2006. Cell Sanity: Mobile Phones Ring Changes in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/cell-sanity
Hertz, M, B. 2014. Striking a Balance: Digital Tools and Distraction in School. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-tools-distraction-in-school-mary-beth-hertz
Johnson, D. 2012. The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.