[K12OSN] OT - Cell phones

Nick Fenger nick at trilliumcharterschool.org
Thu Jun 19 19:39:18 UTC 2008

In the 6 years I've been at this school I've always advocated the "if you
can't beat 'em join 'em approach" and the "medium is the message" approach
to technology and young people. Our students have demonstrated their ability
to use these new technologies often better than us. It is us adults that
have failed to bring authenticity to them by providing them the means to
used these tools to learn, thus, they only use them to play.

Our school hasn't banned cell phones or Myspace for that reason, however, we
do "encourage responsible use"  at least to the level any adult would be
expected to maintain.  We purposefully keep these things around to remind us
of the work we need to do to allow them to use these tools to learn. Our
students generally have respectful interactions with us when we redirect
them from social distractions be them technological in nature or not.

In an effort to encourage our students to use the technologies for learning,
I have been working with teachers to begin moving some of our more
lecture-based classes to a eLearning system (Moodle) and free those teachers
to use the time to meet individually with students. The goal is that
students learn to "work" in the way adults do. That is, scheduling meetings
with teachers, attending large group meetings (they could be classes). They
would then start to use technology (e-mail, text messaging, blogs,
discussion lists) in the same way adults do - to learn and communicate to be
more effective at our work.

I currently have two tech students I'm working with who have this kind of
relationship with me. One is a 7th grader who is building our new school's
web site on Drupal, the other is a 10th grader who has been using Linux at
home since he was 11 and knows far more about open source than I do, he
currently maintains our K12LTSP system and has built our new Moodle system
from the ground up. He actually trained me on how to create a course and
gave me a tour of the features.

Nick Fenger
Trillium Charter School
MS Math & Technology Teacher
Technology Coordinator
Database Administrator


Trillium Charter School is democratically-structured environment that
fosters students' natural curiosity, creativity, and self-awareness.
Students learn to take initiative and assume responsibility for their own
learning, which supports constructive interaction with the local, regional,
and global community.

On Wed, May 14, 2008 at 8:13 AM, Daniel Kuecker <
kueckerd at shenandoah.k12.ia.us> wrote:

> I apologize for not being Linux related, but I was wondering how other
> schools are handling cell phone use by students? Our current policy is they
> are not to use them in school at all, however, they can text message in
> their pockets without teachers knowing. We are starting to experience
> bullying via text messages. What are you guys/gals doing to combat this
> issue?
> Thanks
> Daniel
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