Thursday, June 7, 2007

Cell Phones = School Safety?

NPR has a nice "all things considered" broadcast concerning cell phones in schools. While this broadcast is from 2002, I believe it is extremely relevant for today's controversies over cell phones in schools. The broadcast focuses on the administrative benefits of students bringing their cell phones to school by citing both student and parent "safety" concerns. Since students have their cell phones with them at all times, they can easily be located in case of an emergency. I remember fire drills where we had to "count" our students and then report any missing students to the administrator. It might be much easier to locate the missing student in an emergency if they had a cell phone with them. At the same time there is an interesting article by The National Safety and Securty Services that gives reasons why cell phones may actually get in the way of or impede safety in schools. Both pieces of media give interesting perspectives.

A student interviewed on the NPR broadcast mentioned that he still sneaks his cell phone into school, even though he is not supposed to bring it school. Consequently, if students are still bringing and using their cell phones in schools (ban or no ban), we may want to consider how to take advantage of this ubiquitous in learning (and not just as a potential safety line).

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