Cell Phone Usage

Today, the indomitable Angela Maiers posted the following infographic and asked what was most surprising to us. While not exactly surprising to me, I find the stats to be amazing evidence of the fundamental changes that are occurring in society and with the behavior of young people–and people in general. Changes that most schools are not only failing to properly acknowledge, but are in fact denying entirely. Take a look:

Cell Phone Usage
Via: Online IT Degree

If average teens are texting over 3300 messages per month, and are capable of texting blindfolded, probably in their own pockets, then it stands to reason that a considerable percentage of that texting takes place at school–whether we adults like it or not. Whether we’re ready for it or not!

In my experience, with a few notable exceptions (none of them local to me), schools are a) spending a great deal of time and brainpower trying to figure out how to justify and fund the purchase of technology for student use, and b) spending a huge amount of time and effort trying to figure out how to keep kids from using the computers they’re already carrying around in their pockets! The districts in my area confiscate cell phones and then charge parents $15 to pick them up. However, a colleague and friend of mine at a local high school told me that most teachers in her building just try to ignore when students have their phones out because the “problem” is so widespread that there is no way to stem it. She hates cell phones, and thinks we should ban them all and take them away from all her students. No discussion. But her own middle school student has one that is well-used and -loved! Is this not a huge disconnect between school and life?

My question is why are we fighting the wrong fight? If we stopped pretending that students are not going to have cell phones in their pockets and instead, concentrated on harnessing that incredible and ubiquitous power, would we not be serving our students better? Are we not doing them a disservice by failing to help them develop work-appropriate habits and skills for the modern world? Could we not use these devices to the advantage of the school “machine” rather than throwing resources at trying to eliminate them?

And don’t even get me started on luddite faculty members who have no idea what an app even is…that’s another post for another day…::big sigh::

I’d like to know what other people think–especially secondary school faculty. Are your schools doing anything to acknowledge that the world is changing in this way? Am I totally off-base? Is my friend right? Is it just too big a nightmare to deal with cell phones in a huge modern high school?

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2 Comments

  1. It's about time someone thought of technology as a tool instead of a problem.
    If it's any consolation, I can't text blind folded.

    Reply
  2. The only reaction is WOW on the numbers……….

    200 trillion per day……

    Reply

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