In my travels I’ve recently heard some interesting, if not disheartening tales.
Several teachers I met shared being at a school board meeting where a school board member told about visiting middle and high schools and being appalled at seeing students using smart phones in the hallways and hearing how occasionally teachers have to ask students to put their phones away in class. Also he has heard stories about students accessing inappropriate sites on their phones. His plan is to change school district policy so that the first time a student has a phone out in class for any reason, the teacher is to confiscate the phone for a day. On the second occurrence however, the teacher is to confiscate the phone and then break it in front of the student and the class as a punishment and vivid reminder of how important the no phone policy is.
It was pointed out to the school board member that A) That put teachers in a very untenable position. B) It put teachers, the school and the school district in a position to be sued. C) It might be against the law to break something as punishment … and there were other issues and concerns raised. The school board member vows to look into it.
Another situation involves a teacher sharing at a training how she loved the new district online grade book program. She really liked how, even though she did not have a school district iPad, she could access the online program on her smartphone and that enabled her to input grades and notes while she was interacting with students in reading groups and other situations. She explained that she had been trained to do the same on paper, this took no more time to input AND it meant she didn’t have to take the time to transfer the data from paper to the program later on a computer. It saved her time and was more efficient. Other teachers nodded their heads and took notes about what they thought was a great idea.
Sitting by this teacher in the training were several district administrators. They questioned if the smartphone was hers or the school district’s. She explained that of course it was her phone. They admonished her and explained they would look the other way “this time” – but that technically they could “write her up” for going against school district policy. She was NOT to use her own device to input grades or access the online grading system. She asked if it was OK to take home her school laptop and input grades from home, and the answer was of course since it was a school district computer. She informed them that even though she used her phone that at no time were the grades actually “on her phone” but only on “the cloud”or internet, so she was not sure how that was against policy. They admonished her again and informed her that she was never to do that again!
Wow! We have a long way to go!
Learning is messy!