Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Myths of Rules and Incentives

Now that we have viewed and discussed Barry Schwartz's TED Talk, think about how the mythology of rules and incentives applies to your own life. Schwartz mostly related his ideas to the financial crisis, but what about applying these to school rules and incentives?

For example, I was at an educational technology conference last week in which many of the presenters argued for the integration of cell phones in the classroom. These educators strongly believe that the policy of banning cell phones in school is wrong-headed because it is based upon a "myth". According to proponents of this idea, the myth is that cell phones disrupt the learning process. Instead, they argue that cell phones in the classroom would actually enhance learning. I am undecided on this issue: what do you think?



26 comments:

LukeHG said...

I don't think I can full answer the question What do you think about cell phones in the class, Not because I'm afraid to make judgments but because I don't have enough information. I really don't know any of the Arguments on either side of the cell phone issue. I would need to know how cell phones "disrupt the learning process" and/or cell phones "Enhance learning." But because I am not a Relativist I will contradict what I said before and make a judgment. I think cell phones should not be banned in the classroom, Technology offers advancements in learning and I believe educators should utilize it to better the knowledge of students.

maddie hilbrant said...

I agree with Luke, in order to pick a side or argue one or the other, I'd need to know more information. However, I do see both sides of the argument to a certain degree. I see how it would be thought that cell phones disrupt the learning process, being a distraction and such, but I don't think that statement has much backup. I'd love to know how educators are arguing this, I think it could be a really interesting debate.

Miles said...

Cell phones in the classroom, I don't know, maybe in a perfect world, where all students aren't easily distracted. I think it's too risky, half the kids that bring their laptops to school aren't using them for school purposes, I know I wouldn't. Cell phones in school is not a good idea, too many kids would be texting others, plus in our thousand year old building hardly anybody gets reception, that means no internet or anything on the phone works except for distractions like games. I don't think cell phones should be used in classrooms, but it would be neat to perhaps receive reminders or assignments via cell phone outside of school. Overall, I just don't think the idea would work at NTHS.

walt said...

I somewhat agree with Miles on this in saying that if cell phones were allowed in school it would cause a disturbance. But if there were a way to monitor the use of the phones for an educational purpose, I feel that it could be very productive to use cell phones in class. There just needs to be a way to make sure that what kids are doing is educational and not just for amusement.

andrea said...

I know some people who do use their cell phones in class and they are not using them for educational purposes. After seeing some of my friends after class or during a passing period, I will ask them how their class went and they will respond, "i don't know i wasn't paying attention, i was texted ___ the whole time". I feel like having cell phones in class would just be more of a distraction to students. I agree with Miles, "maybe in a perfect world, where all students aren't easily distracted".

S. Bolos said...

What if there were a LEGITIMATE curricular purpose to utilizing the cell phone? Could students distinguish between that and the social lure of texting friends?

Kimber said...

There are significant pros and cons to the concept of using cell phones in the classroom. If “there was a LEGITIMATE curricular purpose to utilizing the cell phone,” such as accessing databases to research topics being discussed, then class discussions would be more accurate and would teach students to back their statements up with facts. On the other hand, cell phones could be used for texting and socializing. Furthermore, they would provide an easy method to obtain answers and share these answers during tests. Students would be able to store and access information on their phone, along with taking pictures of tests and sending them to other students. Therefore, the only way to successfully utilize cell phones in the class room is to set definite rules and limitations.

S. Bolos said...

Here is an interesting link to a school Principal in Philadelphia who is against a state-wide ban that Pennsylvania legislators want to impose. This is a ban on cell phones in every school, state-wide, regardless of the school's individual policies.

Read his rationale for allowing cell phones in schools. It starts with this quote: "[T]he more we ban, prohibit, regulate and legislate, the less we teach." Do you agree with his philosophy?

S. Bolos said...
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LukeHG said...

I would agree with that qoute, "[T]he more we ban, prohibit, regulate and legislate, the less we teach." I agree with this statement because, if you take New Trier for example, they (New Trier) Has recently started to allow students to bring in there lab tops, and it seems to be working so far.

Julia said...

Personally, i think that cell phones are a distraction to people at school. When i am in class and i hear someone's cell phone go off, it distracts me. Especially when their ringtone is a song. I am not quite sure how cell phones could enhance learning in a classroom? I think that kids should be able to have their cell phones on but on silent just in case there is some kind of emergency in the family. Even though there may be a myth that cell phones are a disruption to learning, i do agree with the myth. I don't think that cell phones should be banned because if a student has a free period, i think that they are allowed to use their cell phone if it is not disrupting anyone.

Max Rice said...

I dont get how its a myth that kids dont use cell phones for productive purposes. Unless ofcourse you think finding out whether Stacey will ask Bobby to turnabout is productive to a students education. But for every rule their is an exception and like during are voice thread projects cell phones were used for educational purposes. So I agree with Barry Schwartz, in that everything can not be summed up by rules and regulations because of those pesky exceptions. So these dilemas instead should be assesed byba case to case baisis.

Matt L. said...

I think that technology in the classroom is a good thing. for example a student could use their to record a classroom discussion. Therefore they would be able to contribute to the conversation and not focus on taking notes on everything every person says.

Matt H said...

I think that cell phones in class would be a disaster. I think that kids would be texting a lot and that they won't be paying attention to the class. I cannot come up with one good reason why you should be allowed to use one in class. However, I believe that you should be allowed to use them in your free periods because it's another way to pass the time.

Alex B said...

I think that cell phones should be allowed in the classroom for educational purposes to enhance learning. Like what Max said, the voice thread project that we completed earlier this year allowed students to record on their cell phones and upload the recording to a computer. Also, in my freshmen Physics class, we used cell phones in order to understand wavelengths and frequencies more clearly. Using cell phones for educational purposes is great, although sometimes they can be distracting. I think that using cell phones in the classroom would improve the learning environment, however, only for certain lessons/projects.

Frettzilla said...

i think that cell phones should not be allowed in classrooms. for one they are distracting and this can cause students to miss valuable information during class. also who says a student would not text a friend to get the answer to a question on a test they did not know. my brother teaches in inner city memphis and his students use their phones without my brothers orders. because of this my brother is not able to keep them concentrated and their grades suffer. Alot of people are saying that cellphones could be used for voice thread and that is why they should be allowed. but in reality it is just as easy to go to a computer lab and record your voice there.

Zack said...

I definitely do not think that it would be a wise decision to integrate cell phones into the classroom. Perhaps it would be beneficial in some ways, but the act of kids taking advantage of this new privilege would be so widespread that i would have catastrophic results. Teenagers would be texting their friends non-stop and there would be no way to stop it because they could just say they were doing their work. Don't get me wrong I love my cell phone and I love using it, but during the school day phones should not be used.

maddie hilbrant said...

I agree with Zack and Brian. After i have thought about it, if I were given the "OK" to pull my cell phone out in the middle of class to "record something" i would definitely be tempted to text or even check facebook (not going to lie...) There's really no way to assure that kids won't text when your asking them not to in class, regardless of the rules I think students would go around the request of "only using it for educational purposes".

Kate H said...

As the student who's phone has gone of the most in call I have to disagree with Maddie ,Brian, and Zack. I think that cell phones could be helpful at times. Lets say a student has a blackberry where they can type a word document of a class discussion this use is no different from a student bringing in a laptop to do the exact same thing. I think that a phone could also be helpful in subjects other than english. Think of the money the school would save if they did not have to buy all the calculators that only have subtraction, addition, division, multiplication and just let students use the calculators on there phones. I think that the school should do a small test group and see if the students grades improve or fall because they take away the no cell phones rule.

S. Bolos said...

I am very impressed with the amount of thinking going on here, as well as the maturity demonstrated in being realistic about what students typically do with cell phones.

But if you have something more to add, let's follow Kate's example in really brainstorming creative uses of cell phones in the classroom, and out of the classroom for educational purposes. I'm very curious and excited to hear what you come up with.

Jack Terrier said...

I've though about it for a while, and I've come to the decision that in today's school life, there is still no need for cell phones to be used. Cell phone main, and sometimes only, purpose is to increase social activity. So why would we need kids to have phones out when we're already surrounded by our fellow students and friends. The only type of phone that may actually help students are phones that have easy access to the internet or data bases like an iphone or blackberry.

Jillian F said...

I personally do not think that cell phones are to our educational benefit if used during class. But I do think that in certain classes it is useful to have a lap top to take notes on and to look things up. Also I think that with the technology of Ipods, I know that at some colleges professors will put their lectures in podcast form, so that students can listen to them and if they miss a class than the lecture is ready to listen to. I think that it would be nice if certain classes the teachers recorded their lectures and notes and stuff and then a student could listen to it on their free time. If you were sick from school you would know what you missed.

Jillian F said...
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Jana said...

Wow!! I've found really cool stuff here! I'll spread the news. My students must love it. Congratulations!

Kelly said...

I think that in the future cell phones will be used in the classroom because pretty soon all the phones being sold will be "smart phones" and will have internet access and many other applications that can be used towards students benefits. If students are told what to specifically do on the phones for a learning tool it will be beneficial. As of right now though cell phones are only used as an “escape” from class for students. All I see students doing on their cell phones is texting and games, which are only a distraction. It will be interesting to see if there is a decline in grades or expectations for students or not as the technology becomes more advanced and easily accessed.

Boris P said...

Cell phones have no place in the classroom due to the fact that students are easily distracted. A cellphone not only distracts the owner ,but also everyone around that person. The effort in integrating cellphones into the classroom would out-weigh the benefit.