Two Biggest Obstacles to Educational Innovation: Filters and Bans

cell phone, interruptedImage by woodleywonderworks via FlickrListen up Educators: Excellence in education is not what you're keeping out, it's about what are you letting in!

The Speak up 2010 results are in and out in the US Congress. The biggest obstacles to educational advancement:

  • Overly aggressive Internet filters
  • Banning mobile phone technologies

No surprises there.

The key findings as quoted on the homepage of the study:

  • "67 percent of parents said they would purchase a mobile device for their child to use for schoolwork if the school allowed it, and 61 percent said they liked the idea of students using mobile devices to access online textbooks.
  • 53 percent of middle and high school students reported that the inability to use cell phones, smart phones or MP3 players was the largest obstacle when using technology in school. Additionally, 71 percent of high school students and 62 percent of middle school students said that the number one way schools could make it easier to use technology would be to allow greater access to the digital content and resources that Internet firewalls and school filters blocked.
  • Parents are increasingly supportive of online textbooks. Two-thirds of parents view online textbooks as a good investment to enhance student achievement compared to 21 percent in 2008. However, E-textbooks are still a relatively novel concept in the classroom. Slightly over one-third of high school students report they are currently using an online textbook or other online curriculum as part of their regular schoolwork.
  • Nearly 30 percent of high school students have experienced some type of online learning."
So, let me get this straight:

We are facing some of the toughest budget cuts in US history and rather than be innovative and use what the kids already have in their pockets, we're rather continue to play prison guard and ban everything?

I've already made the case for cell phones in schools and am not going to rehash it here. We know that we have a lot of addictive behaviors relating to social uses of the cell phone but we also know that they pack more computer power in those palm sized handhelds than we had in computers around a decade a go.

The facts are that we can no longer afford to do this thing "our way." Remember the calculator battles fought about 20 years a go - now they are required even on the SAT. Likely that those cell phones will be our calculators in another 10.

I love the video created by Joy a few years a go on the netGen project where she pictured what will happen to students in the future who don't bring cell phones to class!

Find more videos like this on Net Gen Ed Project

It is a lot truer than some may think.

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