This post originally appeared on Techdirt.
Many educators are having trouble figuring out how to handle electronic devices in the classroom. Some have been educating students on the negative effects, encouraging them to regulate their own use. Others have even highlighted possible applications for mobile devices in the classroom. Though, many just try to ban everything. A principal in British Columbia took his school’s ban to a new level by setting up a cellphone jammer. There was just one problem — the device is illegal in Canada. The principal had ordered the Chinese device online, but some angry students were quick to find out and inform him that he was breaking the law. So much for that idea. Now, he’s left looking pretty bad while cellphone use in school now seems like some kind of civil rights issue to some students.
It seems like this is less about the cellphone ban and more about maintaining authority in the school. On that front… this completely backfired. Plenty of schools have effective cellphone bans without resorting to technological blocks (I attended such a high school). Maybe the principal should explain to students and teachers why cellphones are a problem, set some reasonable guidelines for use and some reasonable consequences for violations of the policy. That would probably go a lot further to establish the principal’s authority and gain his students’ respect than installing an illegal device and being forced to backtrack ever could.
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