IF YOU CANT BEAT EM, join them. Thats the attitude in public schools about smart phones and other technology. School officials have decided that trying to keep the devices out of school was a losing battle. So now, instead of leaving your phones at home, its BYOD bring your own device to school.
But as Granite City recently found out, the battles arent over. Theres a whole new set of disciplinary issues to confront when students use Twitter and other social media irresponsibly. As one educator put it, tweeting can be like firing a gun in the air. Give school administrators credit for suspending the students who sent or retweeted sexually inappropriate messages.
Learning doesnt mean just knowing how to search. And theres a broader problem with embracing technology: not every student has a smart phone or an iPad or at least we hope not. The most recent Illinois school report card shows that 49 percent of students in Illinois are from families considered low income. Presumably those parents have more important priorities than buying their kids a data plan.
Educators say theyre sensitive to that point. However, as lessons increasingly depend on technology, the gap between the haves and have-nots will become more pronounced. What are schools going to do then, have taxpayers supply students with iPhones and two-year service contracts?
Hope were not giving the politicians any ideas.