Just saw this article in the Chicago Tribune and think it’s a great example of schools trying to leverage the use of cell phones in the classroom instead of trying to stifle the natural progression of technology. The mention of cell phones in the classroom typically brings about negative commentary; they’re a distraction, kids will use them to cheat on tests, it potentially infringes on teachers and students privacy, etc. But this article highlights a few schools in Illinois that are refreshingly trying to embrace the inevitable, realizing that cell phones can in fact prove to be very useful education tools.
In Elmhurst, IL, York Community High School Principal Diana Smith plans to sit down this week with students to talk about the possibility of their using cell phones for academic purposes. The Elmhurst school currently requires that phones remain off during the day.
“What we know about kids now is they are used to having so many sources of technology available to them,” Smith said. “I think we need to be in step with them on it.”
The discussion of these policies in schools got me thinking about how this relates to technology policies in the workplace. While many policies are borne out of necessity, it is also no secret that the new generation entering the workforce is accustomed to having the best technology at their fingertips and will expect their future employers to either match or even exceed that expectation. I foresee more and more high schools and even elementary schools adopting policies for cell phone use in the classroom. I predict that it won’t be too long before cell phones are actually required in the classroom. And for that matter, how long will it be before cell phones are standard issue for EVERY employee at a company?
For those readers who have children in school (with cell phones), I’d be interested to hear your perspective on this discussion.