This article is cross-posted from my class blog, Spring 2012.
As I was reading The Daily (my daily news”paper” that I subscribe to on my iPad) just this morning, there was an article by Noreen O’Donnell that reported on a particular middle school that banned the very popular shoe style called “Uggs” because the students were hiding their cell phones in their shoes. I’m usually not the “slippery slope” type of person, but where will this line of thinking take us? Will we ban pants with pockets next? Coats and jackets?
Here we see yet another example of our society treating the symptoms rather than the problems. The problem is not the Uggs. The problem really isn’t the cell phones either. The problem is that we as educators have not yet figured out how to make these ubiquitous tools useful in the classroom. For me personally, my iPhone does not leave my side all day. It’s my alarm clock, my daily planner, my morning news, my get-me-going music radio, my in-the-doctor’s-office distraction, my e-mail, my calculator, my camera, my textbook, my pen and paper, my map, my briefcase, my flashlight, and even my workout partner.
If one little device can do so much for me, surely it can do as much or more for our students? I understand there are technical and ethical hurdles to jump. I didn’t say it would be easy. But that’s our problem, not our students’. Instead of trying diligently to figure out how to best put these things to use in the classroom, we instead take the lazy route and start piling on the restrictions to our children’s wardrobes.