Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

Cellphones in School: Who Makes the Call?

By Liana Loewus — March 05, 2009 1 min read

From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin

As cellphones become a universal accessory among students, policymaking about their use in schools is quickly transitioning from the district to the state level. According to the Des Moines Register, 16 states now have laws restricting the use of cellphones and other devices in school. Iowa state Rep. Deborah Berry hopes to add her own state to the list of those with legal restrictions, citing concerns that the phones are both a distraction and a safety risk. “I’ve seen in my district where they’re organizing fights” through text messages, she said recently. “It’s a serious issue.”

In other parts of the country, cellphone technology is being used as a teaching aide. A middle school in Keller, Texas, started a controversial pilot program replacing laptops with cheaper and more portable Verizon smartphones. In a recent Education Week article, Andrew Trotter describes some of the innovative ways teachers are using mobile technology in class, including to track student responses, record podcasts, and send assignment notices. AFT spokeswoman Janet Bass has spoken out against the use of cellphones in the classroom, saying companies such as Verizon are pushing them as a way to make money off schools.

However, the cellphone issue is much more nuanced than a good/bad debate lets on. One student in Texas recorded her teacher’s angry outburst—egregious expletives and all—through her cellphone, which eventually led the teacher to step down from his position. Was the student justified in her disregard for school cellphone restrictions if it prevented future verbal assaults? Or does this situation highlight the potential for cellphones to be used to intimidate or embarrass teachers? (Teachermagazine.org has a rousing discussion on this topic here.) In any case, it seems clear that this multifaceted policy debate will only be further complicated as cellphone and smartphone technologies advance.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read