I thought I was making progress with integrating iPods into my fourth grade room (few have phones at ten yet, but the difference is negligible), but our division guest network was overwhelmed by new users. Their solution was to switch to a web-based login much like your hotel would use.
I hope to see this activated tomorrow because my personal iPad plays a pivotal role in my work flow. As I said in the thread earlier, I do have students who bring their own devices. Apart from some obvious photo restrictions, our school policy stresses classroom teacher discretion. Most teachers remain both uncomfortable about PD activity in the classroom, and I think unconvinced of its efficacy in learning. I am aware of their distract ability, but don’t share the view.
I borrowed a policy whereby use of a device must be visible at all times. If my students are going to use their iPod, it has to be on top of their desk. They are young users, relatively compliant, they network with their devices and play games. It has been a challenge to get them to see the devices as learning tools. Virtually all of them have used them appropriately. All I have to do is confiscate a device for some appropriate period. They get it.
If we don’t find a way to bring these devices into the classroom and make them work for learning, public education’s influence in learning will decline. People will gravitate to spaces where they can exploit their connections and dismiss learning spaces that limit their connections to adults, textbooks, and immediate peers. Bandwidth is a real problem for our systems. Turning down the taps to manage the flow might seem practical, but it will ultimately disadvantage many.