There it is in black and white: the Department of Education’s support of cell phones in schools.
The National Education Technology Plan, released just last week, praises Middletown Public Schools in New Jersey and Passage Middle School in Virginia for finding acceptable ways to integrate mobile phones in teaching.
Middletown Public Schools in New Jersey, for example, brought together elementary, middle, and high school educators to forge an acceptable-use policy that would allow students to use personal cell phones and other computing devices in school. Students then created videos to illustrate acceptable and unacceptable uses for their peers. At Passage Middle School in Newport News, Va., a host of student and educator uses of cell phones to support learning was unleashed when the principal decided to allow the use of cell phones for instructional purposes during class.
The report adds that schools can “solve the equity issues — concern that affluent students will have devices and others will not — by providing mobile devices for them, just as they do with free and reduced lunch programs.”
And, as Audrey Watters points out in ReadWriteWeb, using cell phones in classrooms gives educators another opportunity to teach digital citizenship, among other things.