An argument for cell phones in schools, starting now!

Thanks to fellow Google teacher Juliette LaMontagne, who posted this down-to-earth rationale for adopting cell phones asap.

One of the things I trust about her approach is its stress on practicality, on dealing with the learning tools already in the hands of students. Why wait to develop this nearly ubiquitous “portal to learning”?

She writes,

Forward thinking educators recognize in [cell phones] a low-tech, low-cost solution to the ongoing technology problem in underserved schools where hardware is dysfunctional, wireless infrastructure is weak, and inadequate staffing fails to meet the demands of upkeep.

I read on Will Richardson’s blog the idea that until there is a one-to-one relation (student/computer), that is, until my school’s students are as well equipped as their teachers who walk around with district laptops and do most of their administrative work thereon–and, ironically, as well equipped as the African boys and girls who have benefited from the one laptop per child initiative–the real value of electronic communications is being lost in America’s schools. I repeat: Let’s figure out how to use cell phones now!

Juliette credits the work of Liz Kolb getting the conversation started. It is way past time. We can use these tools to more effectively reach our goal of a quality public education for all. As Juliette plainly puts it: “cell phones are the most affordable, accessible way to provide access to technology and narrow the digital divide.”

To which I say, “Amen, sister!”

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