We had given it the benefit of the doubt all year, but this week, my teammate and I banned cell phones in our classes. Not just cell phones, but all other personally-owned electronic devices.
That may seem like a radical thing to do, but every student on our team has a school-issued late model iPad for their personal use all day and at home. If it weren’t for that, we wouldn’t have banned personal devices. That’s the clincher right there. It does everything they need a personal computing and communication device to do for school. Sure they can do some unproductive things on their iPads, but not nearly to the extent that they can with their own personal devices.
We had just gotten tired of the distraction.
- Tired of them being pulled out every few minutes for whatever reason that had nothing to do with what was going on in class.
- Tired of them being surreptitiously thumbed under desks when they were supposed to be learning something.
- Tired of them being put down when we walked by so we couldn’t see what they were being used for.
- Tired of them being pulled out at the beginning of every class to play games on until actually given a direct instruction to put them away.
- Tired of the entire homeroom time being frittered away goofing around with cell phones and getting no school work done.
- Tired of the constant battle for attention.
- Tired of trying to figure out when they were being used for legitimate learning, and when they were not.
- And, tired of being the bad guy for hassling kids about them.
And, just two days into the ban, the atmosphere of the learning environment in our classes has improved. At first there were the expected complaints, as you can see below. There was even a petition started to get the ban reversed. It didn’t get far. But, our kids have adapted quickly and now it’s just business as usual.
The devices are allowed to be carried with them, but they are not to be seen in class. That way, they can pull them out and get their fix during breaks or between classes. So far, so good.
We are much happier now!