Why are smart phones in school so taboo?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ecteach, May 9, 2014.

  1. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Today I was in the library with my students. I have been expecting a VERY important e-mail about a student all day. I took my phone to the library with me in order to check to see if the email came. We were going to be in there doing a project with the media specialist for about an hour. I started to get my phone out about 30 minutes after we were in there. Then, I put it back. I just felt so funny about using it. So, I went over to the old-fashioned computers that they have, booted one up and checked my email.

    In this day and age, phones can do so much. If I was on my iPad checking my email I wouldn't have felt funny. I definitely didn't feel funny using the computer.

    If a family member calls the school, the secretary forwards the call to our classroom regardless as to whether we are teaching or not. So, what's the big deal about answering my phone really quickly if my husband calls?

    I've never gotten in trouble for using my phone at school, and I actually am very weird about it myself. But, I'm not sure why. Just food for thought. Interested in hearing opinions.
     
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  3. John Lee

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    I think it is becoming less so. But like anything else, it is a privilege that gets abused by folks, and ruins it for anyone else.
     
  4. teach1

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    I'm not sure if it's becoming less so. I actually might think the opposite because of the sheer amount of things people can do on smart phones these days. Not sure.

    But I do agree that they are seen as taboo because of people abusing the privilege. There is a difference between doing something important, and just playing around or chatting during school time for the heck of it. Some people unfortunately do not know the difference, and they ruin it for the rest of us.

    I also feel a little funny / guilty when I am on my phone at work, even though I have nothing to hide.
    EDIT: just to clarify... this is obviously not while teaching, and only for emergencies & work related issues.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

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    I agree with the abuse.

    However, I believe that teaching is unlike many other professions in that personal phone calls, visits, etc. are more taboo as well. And should be except for very rare occasions. Just as I would be upset if my child's doctor answered the phone during a visit, I would be upset if my child's teacher answered the phone during class. But...I recognize that a doctor can get a message from his secretary that his wife has called while he was with a patient and teachers generally do not get messages or breaks in between students.

    I teach teenagers and hypocrisy is a big thing for them. If I had an urgent (to me) but non-emergency conversation with my husband during class how could I turn around and chastise them for making after-school plans with their friends during my class. Knowing when my car will be fixed, for instance, is just as important to me as whether or not they can catch a ride to the mall with Sally is to them.

    The only time I have my phone turned on and out is when one of my children is home sick or at the doctor. And I absolutely extend the same courtesy to my students that have children themselves.
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Some people have no self control and text all day..... Phones were forbidden at my old school. You would instantly be written up if my P saw it. Even if it wasn't in use!


    Earlier this week, I was sick (all week!) and I took a new-to-me OTC medication and I thought I was having some side effect issues. While my kids were eating snack, I sent my mom a quick text to call my classroom. Silly, but I didn't want to get caught talking on my cell phone with students around. No one has ever said anything at my new school, but I still felt more comfortable with my classroom phone.
     
  7. GTB4GT

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    I 100% agree with this post. My cell phone stays in my vehicle during school hours. My wife knows she can contact the school in the event of an emergency (which has happened once). Our school is very harsh about cell phones in school and I am thankful for that. the last thing I want is to give a student a 3 day in school suspension for cell phone use and then have my phone go off during classroom time.
     
  8. Jerseygirlteach

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    I think my principal's biggest pet peeve is when school personnel are on electronic devices whle students are around. Not only are we not supposed to be using phones, we're not even supposed to check email on computers with the kids in the room. In your case - an important email about a student - she'd probably make an exception, though. Personally, I hate, hate, hate it when I look over at my para and he's glued to his smartphone when he's supposed to be focusing on the students.
     
  9. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I think it's because many people spend too much time in their phones and there are many things a phone is capable of.
     
  10. kpa1b2

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    Our "official" policy is that we are not to have our cell phones out. Most of us keep ours on silent or vibrate. As long as we are not on the phone when we have students we are okay.

    Our P has been known to text us during the day. If I have pockets I will take my phone with me when I push into a classroom. A text is an easier way to find people then a phone call, especially when I'm in & out of my room.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

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    It's not at my school. My phone is out and on all day. I return email from it all the time. When I'm running my projector, I can't pull up my email on the computer.

    I allow my kids to use it for many reasons including texting a parent or sibling about a ride after school. They read on their phones. They look up information.

    I'm so glad we're a phone-friendly school.
     
  12. Go Blue!

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    Staff members having their phones out and using them is not a problem at my school either as long as teachers are not making calls while they're teaching (unless they are calling parents, which is common here). Plenty of teachers at my school text or surf the web while their students are doing independent work (but I try not to for my own reasons). My Admin's team use texts to communicate during the day so they are always on their phones.

    My P always has her phone out; she uses it for emergency contact with our staff and she has a 10-month-old and a 13-year old. She understands that people have families and lives outside of work and that emergencies - life - happens. Not a big deal here.
     
  13. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    We've had teachers sit and play on their phones throughout entire choir performances.

    I find it disgustingly unprofessional to take care of personal business on work time in front of kids. Emergencies are one thing, checking your matches on eHarmony is another.
     
  14. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    I haven't been in a really cell friendly school yet. I observed at a private school where cells were absolutely forbidden. I was walking behind the teacher I was observing for the day and he confiscated a student's cell who was trying to frantically send off a text in the hall. Why? He's not in the classroom. If he is tardy, that's a different issue, but you have no idea what that text is about. Maybe it's his mom telling him to pick up his sister and he's just responding between classes. It really turned me off to the establishment.

    I did my student teaching so a school that was a little more tolerant of cell phones. You couldn't have them out in class and there was really no reason to because each student was issues a laptop (now an iPad). I refrained from using mine since the students were not allowed to. It's kind of like banning your students from eating/drinking in your classroom, and then eating and drinking at your desk in front of them. I believe in one set of rules for everybody. And I was expected to be a role model to the students and to enforce the schools policy which is not in class.

    That being said, a year later as a sub, I used my cell. I didn't see a problem with allowing students to use their cells occasionally. In my experience, my students ask: Ms. ------, can I call my mom real quick and ask...? It's never in the middle of a lesson or anything. I think it's ridiculous to send them to the office to make a phone call. Maybe that's why I wasn't interviewed. :p Or maybe that's just learning you can ease up on students and not go on power trips over innocent things.

    That being said, I establish boundaries. If see a kid's phone out I say: less texting, more typing. Put it away. If I see it again, I know it wasn't a quick text and that it's a conversation taking place during class. I tell the student: this isn't the time. Talk to whoever that is between classes. Last warning, if I see it again you're getting written up because of it.

    I also always urged my morning class to run and get breakfast because I didn't want them to be hungry all day. The teacher across the hall would have them throw it away before they entered her class. Cartons of milk and muffins most the time. Seriously, lighten up, they can clean up a spill.
     
  15. readingrules12

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    What and how cell phones are used for has really changed. A cell phone still is stuck with the reputation of a device for using for personal calls and personal texts. I do find my phone a better and faster way to check e-mail. It is getting to be more accepted, but it is somewhat of a slow change.
     
  16. readingrules12

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    :agreed:
     
  17. GTB4GT

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    a strict phone policy prohibits this kind of nonsense/wasted time. That's why I prefer it. Just one less thing that needs to be dealt with imo.
     
  18. gr3teacher

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    My school officially outlaws cell phone use during the day (except for recess emergencies, when we're required to use our cell phones) for teachers, but my principal won't say anything about you checking your messages real quick as long as the students aren't negatively affected.
     
  19. Bella2010

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    We're "supposed" to have our phones put away at all times. A handful of teachers abide by this, though. The rest of them have them out in full view. Nothing happens to those who don't follow this policy. I keep mine in my desk. I do check it on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when my son is at preschool, which is a good thing because one time DH forgot to pick DS! :eek: In his defense, he got the time messed up because he hardly ever picks him up.

    I had to make a doctor's appt for DS one day, so I used the school phone because we're not supposed to use our cell phones. I needed to call right after 8:00 so that he'd be able to get in that day. My entire class of 5th graders knew DS had diarrhea, lol. My phone is at the front of my room, so there is zero privacy.

    ETA: Sometimes I get really irritated about the no cell phone rule when I go into my P's or counselor's office and they're talking on theirs. :mad:
     
  20. Peregrin5

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    I agree that it's an attention issue. If you're looking down at your phone, you're not looking or paying attention to the kids which is our job. I wouldn't want my students looking down at their phones while I'm teaching a lesson, even if they were looking up something related to the lesson. I wouldn't know if they were anyway.

    The only time I think phones would be appropriate is to use them for data collecting and analysis tools. They have great cameras (both video and static) and they can also be modified into microscopes, and spectrometers.

    If students need to research something online, I have a few laptops they can borrow. I just am not comfortable with having my phone out during teaching, especially since I ask them to put theirs away.
     
  21. ecteach

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    In some situations, eHarmony could be an emergency. :lol:
     
  22. jojo808

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    I am looking forward to the day when cell phone use is not frowned upon. I let a student use his phone for a project (he created the ancient city of Chang'an using minecraft) and it was amazing.
     
  23. Joyful!

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    Do you think the cell phone policy stems from the perception that your attention is not on the students?

    For me, it is a hard mix. We do use texting among the staff when they have a need in the classroom. However, it would be preferable if teachers were not involved with social media during class time. Some teachers don't see using their cell phones during class time (independent work, especially)as a problem. I personally do. Independent work should still be in the view of the teacher, in my view. (For example, if you are walking around and can see that young Jim is carrying the ones over to the hundreds place, though it is independent work time, you should be asking some questions about what he is doing to help him discover his error.) Additionally, we do spend more time than we think when involved with the phone. Have you ever been on A to Z to read a few posts and found that an hour had lapsed? So, I think that is why it is such an issue.
     
  24. Peregrin5

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    I was thinking of having students use minecraft to show circuit designs using redstone circuits for a project as an option. But I don't think we're doing that idea anymore.
     
  25. swansong1

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    We are a BYOD district so students are using electronics all day. I use my cell phone while teaching to look things up when questions are asked, etc. I don't use it for personal use when students are in the room.
     
  26. MissScrimmage

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    I used my cell phone for the stop watch feature one day in class. We were playing a game and wanted to time how quickly we could play one round. I felt AWFUL about having my phone out - especially because my grade 1s became so mesmerized and just wanted to talk about my phone. In the end it was silly to feel guilty about having it out, but I really did.
     
  27. gr3teacher

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    I use my iPhone as a stopwatch all the time. I've even done it with my principal in the room. It never even occurred to me that it might not be a good idea!
     
  28. John Lee

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    Its a perception issue as much as anything else. It is rude to sit looking at your phone in personal interactions (e.g. a date), and that same spirit goes into teachers looking at their phone during the workday.

    But swansong brings up a good point w/regard to BYOD and the wave of the future presumably. I have students who have Kindles... and as we know, Kindle has a phone app. I don't know school policies, but I let kids look at their Kindles during Reading time. I presume they are reading (they look like they are), and that blurs the line a lot. Pretty soon, there won't be a line.
     
  29. Mamacita

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    Using our phones for social reasons and messages that could just as easily be sent or answered later is completely inappropriate and childish. However, using phones as research is awesome. I set up all my tests specifically for media research. Students can use their phones, laptops, notebooks, iPads, etc, and I think it's wonderful. But texting for social reasons during already-booked school time? No. A huge red teacher flag for me is a person who says, "Turn off all electronics and put them away." It's the 21st century. The stick and patch of mud are no longer necessary, and neither are "educators" who don't constantly update their skills.
     
  30. SF_Giants66

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    I found that having a wrist watch is actually more beneficial. I originally just got it for summer camp because we couldn't have cell phones around the campers, but I like not having to pull out and light up my cell phone every time I want to see what time it is. They also have a stop watch on them usually.
     
  31. Linguist92021

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    I wouldn't generalize like that. I'm definitely up to date on skills and technology but I would not allow my students to have their cell phones out, because often they just want to use it for texting and going on FB. It really depends on your school, its policies and the student population though. We actually have students turn in all personal items (phones and any electronic devices) so I don't have this issue, but if they didn't, I wouldn't allow phones in my classroom.
     
  32. Sarge

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    Actually, knowing when your car will be fixed is important to an adult with adult responsibilities. A teenager knowing if they can catch a ride to the mall is not important. Period.

    That's why cell phone use can be a necessity for adults at school while prohibited for students. There is no hypocrisy issue.

    At my school, people have their phones out all the time. I use it for Class Dojo, it's my microphone for a classroom PA system. It's my document camera. I send and recieve emails all day. Many of those emails are regarding students. With my phone I can walk around the room and read email at the same time. Moreover, my home is a long distance from my school and I cannot call it from my classroom. I have aging parents, grandparents, in-laws who actually may need to contact me with varying degrees of urgency.

    And from time to time, I even need to know if my car is fixed.
     
  33. SF_Giants66

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    Here is something that is of common debate, especially in college classes.

    If they are on Facebook during class and missing out on important information, what is so bad about letting them deal with the natural consequences for that?
     
  34. bros

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    I am very well acquainted with technology in the classroom and support it, but I do not think phones should be allowed in the classroom, other than use in emergency, of course. If students have a device, it should be provided by the school if it is a 1:1 school, and it should have heavy restrictions (i.e. like some of the ones on Android tablets where you can heavily restrict app usage/app downloading/internet usage) that tailor it for educational purposes.

    The only times I have used a phone in the classroom is when students are not there - other than that, I used my phone in the teacher's lounge to arrange a pickup from the taxi service that I use - as if you arrange a pickup the day before, they usually need a reminder the day of
     
  35. kpa1b2

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    I use my cell phone's stop watch when I do DIBELS. :lol: I used the timer function for DRA, then I got a clipboard that had a timer on it.
     
  36. kpa1b2

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    I see what you are saying. I use my watch for telling time & when I don't have my phone I use it for a timer. I have found that my times are more precise when I can use a stopwatch, which in some situations it is necessary. Does a watch have a timer? And does it buzz when the time is up?

    For me, a watch that has a stop watch on it is not an option. The ones I have seen have big faces on them. I have very skinny wrists, the size of the watch itself would make it look like I am wearing my husband's watch. It's not a professional look for me.
     
  37. HistoryVA

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    Except that as a public school teacher, YOU get the consequences for their failures.
     
  38. GTB4GT

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    While I will agree with your statement I will add the student also do, in fact, face pretty severe consequences. I have students who are seniors this year talking about attending college but who might be able to do math on an 8th or 9th grade level. I just bite my tongue. My point is, there are indeed severe consequences for students who have failed to achieve appropriate academic growth -regardless of the root cause(s).Sorry if a bit off topic but this is why I support my admin's decision to have a very strict cell phone policy. If we need to access computers we have plenty of them available in our school and it is easier to monitor what the students are doing in computer lab.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

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    Yep.

    For my school that can be a HUGE list of consequences for the teacher.

    HOURS of parent contacts - including trying to track a parent down because the phone number she gave is incorrect. Writing letters and mailing them out because you still don't have a number. mini-conferences with the graduation coach, counselors, social worker, administrators (never at the same time, of course) throughout the semester because you can't get in touch with the parent. Finally a parent conference once the social worker has made a home visit.

    Hours of extra tutoring with the student, re-teaching what he chose not to learn the first time around.

    wonderful conference with admin explaining why each child that's failing is doing so and what the teacher can do to change that.

    Paperwork galore as the semester comes to an end showing justification for the failures.

    You better believe that if I can reduce some of that work by simply forbidding cellphone use in my classroom, I will.
     
  40. a2z

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    The reality is not all natural consequences are immediate and definitive. An extremely bright child taking a class that is well below his ability might be able to browse the internet and just listen a bit to one small part of the instruction and be just fine. Another can't miss a word. The natural consequence for surfing the net when class is going on is different for different students.

    Most kids struggle to understand long term cause and effect. Even kids that are doing everything right don't necessarily do so because of the negative impact not doing so might have. Often they do so because that is how they are wired. They get something from doing things right. It is great to ascribe motive to those students so we can try to connect good qualities with choices. For some, they aren't choosing to do things the right way anymore than some don't choose to do things the wrong way. Their auto pilot just happens to be set on a program that we desire.
     
  41. GTB4GT

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    again I agree with everything you have said. However, because kids do not "connect the dots" re: cause and effect, we cannot give them the option to make poor choices (IMO). Suppose the kids were given carte blanche to "surf the net' during instruction time. Do you think the students doing so would be limited to the extremely bright student who didn't need full attention to the lesson? Not in the school where I teach it wouldn't be - more than likely it would be the students who could least afford to miss classroom instruction with their smartphones out. And it would not be used for educational purposes. Giving them unrestricted access would be analogous to making attendance voluntary (again, this is speaking only about the student population at the school where I teach. YMMV)
     

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