As I was running on the Schuylkill River trail last week, I could not help but think how sad the recent ruling to ban Ugg boots by the Pottstown Middle School in PA was. I just don’t understand it. What do the Ugg boots have to do with a cell phone policy at school?
BTW – While running I was using my phone to to track my pace and time, listen to music and to take pictures of the rowers on the river.
We have worked through the cell phone debate at Graded and we understand that, as a mobile device, cell phones have a place in the classroom. Our policy states, “Cellular phones may be used as educational tools with the permission of a classroom teacher. Otherwise, the use of cellular phones on campus is prohibited except for in the student center, cafeteria and hallways during breaks. Unauthorized use of cellular phones will result in the confiscation of the phone and the phone will be delivered to the Assistant Principal.”
Once we realized that the teacher has control and that he/she can work with the students to determine how they can be used educationally, we were heading in the right direction.
Case in point, in our 10th grade physical education classes there is a huge emphasis placed on fitness and our students have created online portfolios to help them with their learning. They track their cardio vascular workouts by recording distance, time and heart rate, they record their strength workouts by recording reps and weight. They set personal goals and all of this information is recorded in Google Docs and they periodically write reflections and get feedback from their teachers. One of our teachers, Sueli Valades (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been having the students use their cell phones during their workouts. So, how are these tools used?
Students record their data during the workout in their portfolio.
Students take photos and/or video of their workout and then they are able to look at their technique. The feedback is immediate and they can make corrections right there on the spot.
Students listen to music while they are working out. Pretty important since studies have shown that music can lead to better workouts.
This has been an excellent learning experience for the students and we feel that this will set the stage for lifelong fitness. I really feel sorry for those students and teachers in Pottstown Middle School who are talking about the Ugg boot ban instead of teaching and learning in today’s world.