When the Toronto District School Board lifted their ban on cell phones, I found the following comment on the GlobalTV Facebook discussion criticizing the decision:
Likewise, kids bring guns to schools. No, the rationale should be different. Kids must learn a basic premise in tool handling: no tool is appropriate to all occasion. Just as guns shoud only be applied to their intended purposes (to kill) so mobile devices should be put aside while other type of activities take place, unless they’re regulated by the school as teaching/learning devices, which is not the case in real life.
The last sentence is a good qualifier to the arguement, and I need to acknowledge that I will now be misusing the logic presented in the comment. But this got me thinking about the argument that a cell phone is inappropriate in the same way that a gun is inappropriate and I came up with a different approach using a similar logic:
Just as the “pen is mightier than the sword,’ the cell phone is mightier than the gun (ie, the Revolutions in the Middle East). We teach kids to use a pen in class, ergo we should be teaching kids how to use a cell phone in class.
Alright, this is an obvious stretch. Cell phones were not the driving force at the core of the revolutions in the Middle East, but were a complimentary communication tool of pre-existing ideas. Nevertheless, one needs to remember that the cell phones of today are not like the cell phones from the end of the last century. The capabilities of a cell phone are astonishing and have a significant cultural and personal implications. If we are not teaching students how to use them properly, responsibly and effectively, who is?