Do Cell Phones in Schools Better Prepare Kids for the Workforce?

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.

2 Comments
  1. October 18th, 2010 - 12:55 am

    great post thanks

  2. October 18th, 2010 - 7:34 am
    Bill Mitchell said:

    A very interesting discussion. Don’t under estimate the privacy and access issues, they are extremely complex. Attend a parent council meeting and you will understand the challenges. Also not everyone can afford the technology. Most plans are prohibitively expensive during business hours with unlimited use outside of school hours.
    Personally I think mobile phones are a distraction (even in the workplace) and most parents probably cannot explain why there kids have them. Safety, really, is world safer with mobile phones? It is more convenient. And peer pressure. My son has had a blackberry most the way through high school. Nice to have, yes. Education changing, not yet.
    There are more opportunities to leverage technology in education. My son is home sick today and has no way to connect into the active learning that he is missing. He can pick homework online. If the school system finds a way to unbundle education from childcare and make it possible to learn from anywhere that would great. Then we might prepare kids for the changing workforce.

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