Wow. This post was seriously awesome. I attended a seminar/talk last year that was weighing the pros and cons of students being able to use cell phones in the classroom. The speaker dug into ever corner of the issue and it lasted about 3 hours. I got more out of this post than I did in those 3 long hours.
I agree with the points made on preparing students for future jobs. Every job uses smartphones or handheld technology in some respect and getting students used to that can only benefit them and make them more successful when the time comes. I also like the take on cell phones as a readily available technology source. Many schools, as mentioned in the post, are limited in what they can do with technology because schools can’t afford it. Why not use what almost all students are, without fail, coming to school with daily?
“Tests of recall don’t prepare students for the world ahead.” So well put. The emphasis in schools now is teaching students how to FIND information, not memorizing the facts. The facts are out there and a few buttons away. Finding the rights types of resources is important and should be to focus. Why are we testing their memory of facts when in the working world they will rarely have to use that skill. Future jobs will not require students to have the state capitals memorized – future jobs come with smartphones that allow you to have all that information listed in less than 20 seconds.
I also like the rationalizations made about cheating. We shouldn’t be banning cheating – we should be promoting collaboration and problem solving in a cooperative learning environment. That is what the future will expect of our students – finding ways to solve problems and therefore we should be encouraging using each other as resources. The nature of our assignments has to change.