I find it fascinating that we can spend billions of dollars world wide to teach students to use technology in meaningful ways. Then when there is any type of technology that may disrupt our educational process, BAN it.
I am giving away my age here but the Sony Walkman was the hot technology when I was in school. Rather than ban the device we were simply told to put them away. And believe it or not, we did. Sure there were a few of my classmates who tried to sneak their Walkman into the classroom, but their singing usually gave them away.
Given the ease and growing popularity of digital audio and podcasting, this teachers union is in need of a wake up call. Perhaps it may be time for the teachers to become the students and pay attention to what the kids are doing with the technology. Sure, they may be exercising some behavior that we feel is not appropriate. However, that is an issue of behavior not technology.
Thinking back to my days in school… If I were bouncing the basketball down the hallway, I was told me to stop. If I did not, the teacher took the ball way. Given the line of thinking of this particular teachers union, I wonder if they would have the basketball courts removed. (Sorry for the sarcasm but…) Having said this… refocusing the behavior while using the technology may prove to be quite powerful.
Personally, I think they need to embrace the technology and consider how it could affect student learning.
I have attempted to make this point about the iPod in a less sarcastic voice last May. See blog posting Dad I need an iPod for School (
PS… Stop by Yahoo and sign up for the k12dvr · Digital Voice Recording in the Classroom group. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/k12dvr) You will need to register with the group.