Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Fellow Colleagues,


It’s me, I did it MEA CULPA! MEA CULPA! I allowed students to use their cell phones in my class. Before your gasp of shock, please read my explanation below.

My Senior Government class is engaged in a unit about democracy. The culminating activity is to put into practice what they have learned in the unit. Part of this is to lobby for real change in the school. In order to create their proposals they must contact all sorts of outside agencies, schools, and educational professionals. They are using their phones to contact and interview these individuals (who all keep educational hours and would not be available after school). The cell phones are being used for real AUTHENTIC work in a classroom; they are not calling friends chatting about after school plans.

I apologize if this seems like a rant but it is not. I am using technology in the classroom and using it at a level in which today’s youth must learn to use effectively. Is this not college prepatory skills? Is this not prep for life as an adult? Don’t they need to learn how to communicate, not in only in our traditional method, but in the brave new world they are growing up in?

“But Woolsey it’s against a Chancellor’s Regulation!!!!!” Yes, you are right it is. However, our former principal already set the precedent for using “taboo technology” in the classroom last year. He allowed my Global class to eat from the forbidden tree of knowledge for a project on international trade. At the time he stated that if it is for academic use and limited to inside the classroom then it is ok to do so. Seriously, would Joel really drop the hammer on this type of educational experience? If so, what are we doing> Are we playing lip service to progressive education? Maybe so. I would try to find the answer for you but it has been filtered on our EDUCATIONAL computer network.

Next time I will be sure to send out a Community wide email, notify the proper authorities. My kids have been warned and are held accountable to keeping it the classroom before we started the project. If there was an abuse there should be consequences. If other students are asking why them and not me now we can explain it to them.

I would like to thank my AP for her support and understanding…you are my saving grace. Seriously, thank you!!!!!

Either we can fear the snake in our Garden of Eden or we can remember that:

“Do not limit a child’s knowledge to your own for they were born in a different time.” –Rabbinical saying

Thank you for your time and hopefully your forgiveness.


Anonymous said...

Bravo! Cell phones, iPods, etc. can be great instructional tools if used appropriately. We really need to get out of the stone age. We are still using slate boards and chalk to teach and learn - sounds a bit ancient to me.

Lori Mayo said...

It always strikes me as odd that we live in the information age and still act as though we're teaching in the industrial revolution. We deny kids access to formulas on their calculators during math regents that they will have access to in the "real" world, access to certain websites, and more.

Woolsey, you rebel, making real world connections in school! Detention for you.
But it sounds like a good project!


Diffley said...

Hey Woolsley,
Just so you know I had students in my Forensics class take pictures of a crime scene with their cell phones and send to me without ever saying a word to anyone. I decided that it was the best thing to do rather than try to track down a community camera that was never available. Unlike you however I did not ask if I could do so, simply did what I thought would be the best for my students and their learning experience.

Anonymous said...

what also sounded great about this project was the fact that students actually had to "speak" to another human being. This in turn, sharpens our students delining social skills that they have learned from the mind numbing computer and gives their rapidily moving,text messaging thumbs a break!

Frank Swetten said...


I am shocked, cell phones!!!!

What's Next?

Only joking great project.