Cell Phones in Classrooms

The following post (video… but I don’t know why it is a video) popped up on Facebook this morning. To me it is a troublesome video. The topic isn’t troublesome, but the intent of the post is troublesome. It perpetuates an anti-democratic, corporate, and demeaning view of teaching and schooling.


What does this teach children? It doesn’t teach them that they are responsible human beings. It doesn’t teach them that they can participate in decision-making. It doesn’t teach them about participating in a democracy.

If kids are using cell phones in class, it is a symptom of a problem or set of problems. I suspect that there are several problems at play: (a) school is boring, meaningless, and/or irrelevant, (b) there are issues with contemporary life with which they are trying to cope, (c) they are feeling isolated…. among others. Addressing the real problems should be a priority, but teachers are forced into thinking that they have to cover the very content that is boring, meaningless, and irrelevant.

If one wants to address the problems in ways that will have a lasting effect on children, then children have to be involved in the process. The whole class should be involved in discussing the nature and extent of this problem. They could extend this process to doing research on how cell phones are being used by others outside of school. Then, they could discuss strategies for addressing the problem and make decisions on what actions to take. Afterwards, they could write up their research and an analysis of the actions and publish it somewhere (newspaper, website, journal, magazine — they could decide).

SO, what would children learn from this process?

About Jeff Bloom

I'm a Researcher with and am on the Advisory Board of the International Bateson Institute and am a professor emeritus with the Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education, Northern Arizona University.
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