Techagogy Blog

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Ideas for an Effective Mobile Phone Policy for Schools

There is a conflict in schools between trying to maximise students technology in hand and eliminating the negative disruptive effects of the same technology.

An effective policy called “Flight Mode” could enable this to happen.

Students entering the physical boundary of school (including buses) switch mobile devices to “Flight Mode”

Students are engaged with the reasoning behind the strategy with emphasis on safety and anti-bullying.

Parents are engaged with the strategy and encouraged to view mobile phones as a positive for learning.

Students can register their devices with IT, so their MAC addresses are registered with the system, internet access is then filtered. Phone details are then stored, along with make and device serial number. Information of registration is shared with parents.

Schools recommend a minimum spec of phone – wireless, camera, audio. Students purchase own phone and own contract.

Students using mobile devices as a phone or 3G internet access in school will have their SIM card removed, with this information shared with parents.

Students are encouraged to use the wide range of mobile apps to support their learning and personal management.

Any loss or phone damage is the responsibility of the student.

Thus the policy attempts to maximise the positive and eliminate the negative

Learning Technologies – Minimise in, Maximise out.

Many secondary school teachers complain that their use of learning technologies is hampered by lack of ICT and lack of access to students, often quoting primary schools as having the advantage of more contact with their pupils.

This had led me to the though that the time a secondary teacher has with their pupils is too precious to be spent on logging on, username issues, internet access as well as the low level disruption and control issues that teachers face in ensuring that pupils are on task.

Also APP/AFL means that teachers have to spend more time with their pupils understanding their needs, levels etc.

Therefore effective use of learning technologies should follow the idea of minimal effective use in the classroom and maximum effective use out of the classroom.

The minimum use is the interactive whiteboard and perhaps access to 4 laptops when needed, a teacher flip cam and digital camera to capture key learning events to share on learning platforms

Learning is extended by use of learning platforms as the use of key discussion questions as well as enabling self and peer review. The teacher should also use th learning platform to ensure that students are ready for their lessons when they arrive, making the time with the pupil even more effective.

Maximum use should be made of students own mobile devices, so they can capture in class learning events and share later. The contentious issue of mobile devices is dealt with in the post called “An Effective School Mobile Phone Policy”. This requires that the money saved by a school on purchasing laptops should be spent on enabling an effective wired and wireless infrastructure.

This idea of minimise in, maximise out will take the stress of trying to use ICT in the class to support learning and brings in the idea that the teacher / student interaction time is too precious to be wasted.