doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Zoe Nailed It

Like most people, I was aghast when the discussion broke on Twitter.  I think I actually caught it when a cadre of educators from Hamilton-Wentworth were talking about the story “Ontario teachers’ union votes to ban cell phones in classrooms“.  Interestingly, the original story I read is no longer available at the source and the more gentler “Elementary teachers’ union updates electronic device policy” can now be found in its place.

As one can imagine, the original message raised a large concern among educators.  There was outrage from people who have used technology effectively in the past; there were shots directed towards the Federation leadership; and, of course, everyone with a keyboard felt the need to chime in by commenting on the article and talking about the good ol’ days or 21st Century Skills or teachers these days or kids these days.

I waited until I had confirmation from another source about the story before I got concerned.  Then, what do you do these days?  Write a blog post, of course!  In the middle of writing something, there were still thoughts and ideas flowing through – even from teachers who had been at the meeting itself.  Then, in a post from Andrew Campbell he shared the entire motion.

@acampbell99: CBC is ‘interpreting’ a lot with the#ETFO “Cell Phone Ban”. Here’s the actual resolution #OntEd

Within the resolution is a great deal of common sense – including putting the onus on school boards to develop policy.

So, I had the blog work in process – how to wrap it together?  If nothing else, it’s another great exercise in media literacy, truth in reporting, more than one side to a story…

But Zoe Branigan-Pipe beat me to it.  In an extremely detailed, passionate post, she takes on the issue and absolutely nails it.  There’s no way that I could ever match her passion for what she does.  It will definitely be in this week’s “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” but it’s too good not to share right now.

Please take a read.  Well done, Zoe.

I know that a lot of great technology using educators are right with you.


5 responses to “Zoe Nailed It”

  1. Hi Doug. Even an ‘outsider’ like me here in NL found it necessary to stop and wonder 🙂 I’ve spent some time thinking about this and believe that it’s time that everyone just plain sat back down at the table to talk this through. Clearly there are issues but I firmly believe that (a) the one stated is not the real one and (b) a better way can be found to address them than an outright ban.


  2. I agree. There always is a need for classroom rules and structures. There are times when you don’t allow paint brushes at the desk; I don’t see it as a stretch at all that there are times when your internet connected device is used and other times when it’s required to be put away. It’s part of classroom management. What can be accomplished when used properly just can’t be ignored.


  3. Something else–basic physics. Wi-Fi access points are extremely low-power devices. The power output depends to a large extent on the amount of data – transfer in place. Even at full boogie the figure is still ridiculously low!
    How low?
    Let’s assume that a 60 Watt light bulb is about 10% efficient. That is it puts out 6 W of light (let’s call that ‘non ionizing radiation’ because that’s exactly what it is) and 54 W of heat; just plain old heat.
    So…how does the power of a Wi-Fi router compare with that 6 W of output radiation from a light bulb?
    Wait for it:
    It would take approximately 2000 Wi-Fi access points, operating at full power (a rarity) to send out the same radiation.
    Hee Hee 🙂 I feel pretty safe.
    Now, that said, there are some real issues associated with skillful use of mobiles in the classroom. Why don’t we all just take our jackets off, simmer down a bit, and tackle those like educated adults. Yeah, why don’t we just apply those 21st Century Skills we’re all going on about…


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