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School gives kids cell phones as a teaching tool By CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick with senior producer Dana Garrett (CNN) When seventh grader Cayleb Coyne wants to send a text in class, he slips his cell phone into his backpack and pretends to be looking for a piece of paper.
Texting between classes has an added benefit. harder to get caught in the hallways then it is in the class, says the soft spoken boy. Coyne, who says he sends about 300 texts a day, has had his cell phone confiscated six times in six months. He not the only one despite constant reminders from his principal at Haverstraw Middle School, Avis Collier Shelby. cell phones are supposed to be where? Yes, in your locker. Not in class! she announces over the schools public address system. And yet class is exactly where they end up. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, even in schools that ban cell phone use nearly 60% of all students admit texting during class a growing problem facing schools across the country. Box is open here. The technologies are here. What we need to do is to take control of them instead of letting them control us which is exactly what educators at the Haverstraw Middle School are attempting. can put the genie back in the bottle, says Principal pandora Shelby, who is overseeing a pilot program that has distributed 75 cell phones to students in the fifth grade. Texting and calling has been disabled and Internet sites are filtered. The phones are used for things like note taking and research. not really a phone, it their computer for class, says social studies teacher Ronald Royster, who had the class research Ellis Island on their phones, then go to Power Point. has not taken the place of anything. It a resource the kids can use like a book or a notebook, he says. For 11 year old Kiara Rivera, Ryan Guzinski and Naya Rivera, the cell phones renamed MLDs for mobile learning devices have opened up new ways to learn and changed their parents perspectives. first week, my dad freaked out when he thought I was texting, but now he realizes it like keeping up with our generation, says Guzinski, who made a movie about decimals on his phone during math class and who says its easier to memorize lessons. almost like you want to look at the screen, it like a mini TV where you like, you want to look at it, you don want to go look at a piece of paper, says Naya Rivera adding, that I have this, it kind of more fun to go on the Internet on this and experiment with it at home instead of sitting there and texting all day, like doing nothing. Kiara Rivera, who carries about ten pounds of books in her backpack, likes it for other reasons, say your like reading the textbook, you don have to keep turning the page, you could just like press a button and it go to the next thing. So it's easier to go on this than to go on the books. kids carry the devices with them all the time and have constant access to the Internet. They can send their homework assignments to their teachers, who sometimes send out reminders about assignment deadlines. District Superintendent Ileana Eckert says dollar for dollar she rather buy more phones than more computers. She stands by her decision to take part in the pilot program despite push back from some teachers. think we in the middle of a new revolution. It part of who they are today. Why not use something in a positive way that they bringing with them, she says. At Bayside High School in Florida, principal Robin Novelli wages war daily with teens and cell phones. He patrols the hallways and says he simply has to open his palm and students know to turn over their phone. Stopping one young culprit he asks, are you so addicted to this technology? Parents have to come to the school to collect the phones. If confiscated more than once, students risk being suspended a relatively new policy that Novelli says has dramatically reduced the number of repeat offenders. Still, teachers confiscate phones on a daily basis and this year 200 kids have had their phones taken away. you studying math or science or English or history or whatever it might be, those students need to be fully 100% authentically engaged in the classroom and pulling out a cell phone and texting your friends about whatever it is they might be talking about, is not the learning environment that I as a principal want to promote, says Novelli. He so adamant against cell phones, he researched the possibility of putting up a jamming signal, but was told it is illegal. As for the fifth graders interviewed for this article, they say their grades have gone up since using the cell phones. What more, because they have access to so many applications like Power Point and Sketchy, they say they actually spending pandora bracelet accessories a lot less time texting. I have 4 Teenagers. I am their parent, not their BFF. All the phones have time of day restrictions. They are shut off during school hours. They are shut off for sleep. It is time for parents to grow up and act like adults. I do not need to hear some talking head tell me to ask other parents what they do. I do not need some educrat to make the rules for me. I made the adult decision to have children. Part of that decision is to raise responsible future members of society. The first rule in society is that there are rules, and consequences for breaking those rules. There are legitimate reasons for children having cell phones. The society that we live in is a global one. Many children live part time with one parent and a cell phone can give them constant contact with the other. Cell phones carry GPS so that a child can be located very quickly should the need arise. I remember and article from many years ago about the computers in school and how it was not needed. Computer skills are a needed in almost every profession, and the more you know about them the better. Cell phones are already necessary in the real world (professional world) as well. Schools teaching practical skills like internet research using a cell phone is very necessary. Carl, as far as fifth graders doing they do, alot. I have a 5th grader who has a cell phone, its usage is monitered. We combined internet research with library research for about 13 different assignments and projects this year alone. Most children have constant questions about a varied amount of subjects. My son and I frequently thing on his phone when we are out. Such as an insect that looks cool and he wants to know what it is. It is a tool, just like any other tool. The usage of it can be positive or negative. It depends on supervision and monitering. While older people may not get it, it is a great idea. In a world where we are imersed in technology and graphics and entertainment 24/7 kids are not able to focus in the traditional sit down shut up and read and do this worksheet for 9 hours a day. In the future when text books are avaliable on mobile devices it will be much cheaper when you think one text book can cost over $80. I had a cell phone when i was in third grade (granted it was the size of a banana) it really isnt a distraction. You send some texts, check a facebook, but your still listening to the teacher. If you can talk and drive you can text and hear. My wife is a high school teacher and based on what she and her colleagues have told me and what I actually seen when I visited campus I think the cell phone bans should remain in place. Teenagers have enough trouble concentrating without throwing something else into the mix. The cell phone companies should offer parents/guardians the option to restrict phone usage hours, number of texts etc. for FREE, because paying $5 a month to do this seems outrageous considering that most of us don even look at the restrictions more than a few times a year. I highly recommend the restrictions though as it seems to have made a huge difference for our nephew who went from flunking out to A B and C after having his texting taken away completely and now limited along with his time of day calling (though emergency calls always go through no matter what). As a student, I am repulsed by this idea. a phone system? What kind of idiot would do this in the age of school attacks, such as Columbine and Virginia Tech. It is horrific to think that were something like this were to happen at his school, because of his vehemence against cell phones, students would not be able to contact their parents, to let them know they are alive. I question Mr. Novielli judgement on his necklace for pandora beads students safety. Granted, I understand his position on the overwhelming affect of students and their addictions to their cell phones, but their safety overrides his position. I think suspension is a bit harsh of a punishment simply for having a phone out I been in trouble myself for forgetting to turn my phone off after I got to school, only for my mother to call my voicemail to tell me to pick up something from the grocery store when I got out. Does that warrent suspension? I think not, and I think Novielli doesn either. A much lighter punishment for this, such as inschool suspension would be a much more appropriate punishment, than having a college transcript read SUSPENSION multiple times. Whatever happened to a good discussion about what we were learning in class? A good discussion about what we each are at any moment? If we must communicate, then let it have substance and meaning, and value. Texting is fine for social reasons. It extends our horizons. Texting can amplify our vision of our community, our state, and even the world. But is texting the be all, end all? I don think so. Not to the extennt that it takes out the face to face interaction. We can not, dare not, give up the face to face interaction of person and mind. Very interesting dilemma. I think I would side with the High School principal who forbids the phones on this one. In the 70 we would get in trouble for passing notes or doing other work than what was going pandora shopping online on in class, how is using a cell phone any different than that? In addition I think that adults learn the difference between professional/academic/proper English and slang/cuss words, and would be punished for using slang/cuss words in class, so the same standards should and must be held up to the students. (Slang is no fun anyway unless its no?). Also some might call it school but those tiny screens and keyboards can be good for eyes, necks, fingers, let alone attention spans. Life comes in living breathing full color 3 D, kids always want to play with new technologies (without learning the rules or consequences, or paying the bills) and that is great but old technologies have passed the test of time, and I think it is foolish for schools to spend all their money trying to purchase the latest technologies.
I seen this in everything from elementary schools to graduate schools of art. Learning to plant an organic garden or make a healthy lunch is just as important a technology as playing with tiny computers during a lecture. I say a lot more important.
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