The students at my school mostly all have cell phones. Many have smart phones. One of the pieces of my job is to tell them to put them away, stop texting, and take out their ear buds. This goes against my gut because these devices have so many practical uses and the kids already have them. Of course, they are still kids and can't be counted on to use their devices for things that I would want like looking up words they don't know. I wish I could require them to text a parent or someone in the community a standard the class is working on, a question they need answered, or some kind of enhancement to what the class is working on. Memory requires repitition and right now I mostly see the cell phones as a distraction, the kid misses the main point, mouth off when I tell them to focus, and look at me with the kill look when the show down begins about whether or not I'm going to take it away. I wish those same kids would be that careful with the computers and technology we provide.
I don't think that productive use of the cell phones is impossible, but I think that to be successful, there needs to be student and family buy-in and teaming up with community and service providers. If the kids could text people who could later talk to them or enhance the topic in some way, more learning will happen. The kids already have the phones.
I'm wondering if anyone has similar struggles and/or any resources that might help guide the development of a school wide plan?
Here are two onlin resources that may benefit you and your school. As always, I would seek student involvment in creating a succesful plan. If they aren't part of the solution, they are the problem.
Mobile Devices: Facing Challenges and Opportunities for Learning, Patricia Deubel, Ph.D
In this article, the author acknowledges the challenges related to managing the use of cell phones in schools, but discusses the necessity of tackling those challenges in order to prepare students to be successful, responsible users of technology in the future.
Crafting A Workable Cell Phone Policy, Ellen R. DeLisio, Education World
For those schools and districts willing to allow cell phones to be used in the classroom, it is clear that detailed policies must be in place. This article provides suggestions and examples of how to make sure that your school’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) addresses the use of mobile devices.
Thanks for the useful links! I will share these perspectives as pieces of this complex puzzle to the committee as we try to find a fair and smart way to work with these cool advances in technology.
Since that was so helpful, I'm wondering if you have any ideas about how to use smart phones to help with our problem of chronically tardy students.
A concern in the school I am working at is Tardy's. Kids who are cronically tardy are tardry for a variety of reasons. The data is that about 200 of about 1000 students are chronically tardy. There's so many nooks and crannies in our building that the cat and mouse chase is not worth engaging in. Not suprisingly these kids are also not doing so well in the classes they are tardy for. We understand that kids who aren't doing well have underlying reasons and we don't want to compound their problems by being punitive. We don't want to chase them either because they are faster than us and we look funny when we run.
As a professional, I would love having a robot take attendance because it's a frustrating and time consuming task. I don't want to start my class with an argument or explanation about why someone's late. If the kid just entered his code and sat down a whole venue of diversions would be eliminated in a world I can imagine. I'd like the kids to punch in and out on a key pad I think that shouldn't be too expensive, less than the cost of 5-10 min / class + # of teachers + 5/week ..... but new technology always has it's issues. But, the kids already have phones. Is there some way there is a solution with what they already have?
Do you have insight that I haven't considered ?
TeacherAidePro 1.52 (Mobile) - Look for the free lite version to try. I know it is available for Android phone but I'm not sure about for the iPhone.
This is the top choice by educators in 2011. You can take attendance and send out notices of tardiness/absences to parents by email or phone call through the phone app.
No mobile app is going to stop tardiness without a strong tardy policy in place. Some schools use:
Any tardy policy is only as good as the enforcement by the teacher and the administration.
Many schools are going from an "Acceptable Use Policy" to a" Responsible Use Policy" and schools are emphasizing education to fix tardiness: i.e., in math class students chart graphs and analyze data on tardiness. Students are tasked with improving this problem. Other subjects teachers become involved after the data mining.
Attendance is a behavior issue. Some schools have volunteers call home after the first offense. Schools want to crack down on the problem of tardiness but are having a problem determining what to crack down on.
Businesses approach this problem by addressing the first tardy immediately as an attendance issue. Multiple instances of tardiness is a performance issue and is addressed with a one-on-one meeting.
In school this issue may be addressed with a phone call home for the first offense followed by a one-on-one meeting with the counselor after multiple instances of tardiness. During this meeting it is possible to find out what personal issues the student is having and MAYBE help them.
You have raised a good question in this discussion. I hope we will hear from some members who are taking a pro-active position on tardiness.
All Community Members: What insights do you all have on this issue and/or how are you handling tardiness in your classroom/school/district?
Hello again Dr. Brown,
One more quick thing, since I have your attention:
On one side of the coin we want them disciplined, tough and responsible. We don't want them to be obedient. This is NOT 1984 all over again. There IS a good chance that they need to address an issue that is higher on Maslow's order of needs than my English class.
I'd like to let those kids process through their technology with someone in the community that can respond. I can think of free services at the library and crisis counseling services. Maybe they could get electives credit for time spent in a safe space just straightening their life out. Then we have party land and no one goes to class.
Am I too soft? Do I need to spend some time in New York City? 33 more days!
PS I really DO love teaching. Teaching is an awesome profession.