Md. students seek cellphone rules change

Cellphones are banned from Montgomery County (Md.) schools, but there’s still plenty of texting going on in the classroom. So, since texting is so inextricable from their lives now, the students – led by Quratul-Ann Malik, a high school senior – are taking a resolution before the county school board, asking it to allow high school students to use cellphones during lunchtime, the Washington Post reports. “A Facebook group to promote her cause attracted 1,200 members in three days.” But she faces “entrenched opposition,” not only in Montgomery County. There and in nine surrounding counties, cellphone rules are pretty archaic, “written when few students carried cellphones and ‘text’ was not yet a verb. Today, they are difficult to enforce. The main problem is texting, which has supplanted talking and note-passing as the distraction of choice in many classrooms.” I recently talked with some university law professors, who felt there was no way they could ask students to put away distracting technology in their classes. They said they need to embrace it – not as purely social or “distraction” tools, but as learning tools – and they are beginning to. Here are just two professors who are using social media to great advantage, Michael Wesch at Kansas State University and Jason Jones at Connecticut State University. I know college and high school are very different environments, but progressive thinking occurring at both secondary and post-secondary levels will spread – though not far, maybe, before Qurantul-Ann graduates (if she hasn’t already).

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