Some schools have declared war on i-pods, cell phones and portable electronic devices. They are seen in these places as a distraction to learning and "education" in general.
Like the war on terrorism, I don't believe this is a winnable war. For three reasons, at least:
1- Teens like music
2- Teens are social to the core (cell phones allow constant and instant communication with one's BFF's)
3- The technologies are here to stay because they are profitable to the companies that make them.
Calculators used to fall into this category. They were a threat and a nuisance....Until!
Until a use was declared within education circles. Someone convinced others within Academia that calculators could, indeed, be used as an enhancement to the educational process. Now, of course, they are ubiquitous.
The problem as I see it is not that students own and use the aforementioned devices. The problem is that ALL students are not using them. If we knew that ALL students owned them, we could require that they be brought to class and used to enhance the learning process.
"OK, the first one to text me the correct answer, gets to ask the next question!"
"OK, take out your ear-buds and using your PDA, login to the school network, go to the Student Network Folder and find a link called Beethoven 1. Listen to the first 2 minutes of Beethoven's 1st Symphony. When you're done, use PDA to do a Google search about classical vs. romantic music. Using your PDA, write a blog post about why Beethoven's Symphony was ground-breaking. E-mail me the link to the post. If you have any questions, text me or send me an e-mail..I'll respond immediately."
"OK, tonight, I want you to rip one of your parent's Cd's into your music collection. Choose one you like and that you can connect to the subject of this class in some way. Load it onto your i-pod. We'll listen to a few tomorrow and discuss the relevance of the song to the subject of this class"
It's not a war. It's an opportunity. At least it can be.
cross posting from Another Brick In The Wall