A decade ago, when the Jefferson County School System instituted its ban on cellphone use during school hours, I completely agreed. But now, the school board is reconsidering, and granting waivers to principals who want to allow students to use their phones for educational purposes in the classroom. And again, I support the idea.
What's changed in 10 years? Primarily, the fact that today's smartphones are capable of so much more than their predecessors were. When talking and texting were virtually the only things you could do with a phone, about the only potential they had in a classroom was the potential for distraction.
But now, their capacity for research, calculation and other educational functions is virtually limitless. They're mobile computers. And now that our schools are hard-pressed to supply students with all the classroom resources they need, it would be foolish to prohibit kids from using such a powerful tool that they probably already own.
Yes, the capacity for abuse still remains. But as long as clear rules are in place and enforced, there's no reason why smartphones shouldn't become as common in schools as calculators and slide rules once were.
This is a digital world. We have to reach students in terms they understand. And it would be a shame to banish such a powerful source of information to a locker all day.
Call and tell us if you agree.
I'm Bill Lamb and that's my Point of View.