Today in The Age, iPods in schools are copping a schellacking, with senior teachers saying that they cause problems because students resist confiscation and they can get stolen.
Since when has the confiscation and theft of student property ever not been an issue? In addition, tools for learning have always been stolen or damaged in schools – TVs, computers, DVD players, pens, pencils…they all suffer theft and damage. Maybe the teachers’ objections lie in the fact that student, rather than school, property is being stolen or confiscated. That always makes it more difficult to handle, because then parents get involved.
Banning mobile phones and mp3 players outright will not solve the problem, as it seems adolescents are hardwired to subvert such orders. Neither will ignoring such technology. What will work is the structured and thoughtful integration of student-preferred technology into learning.
As the principal of Heathmont college is quoted: “A lot of (older people) want technology in schools — although we want it to be our technology“. Teachers are quite happy to use TVs, videos and computers in the classroom, because they have learned how to integrate these into learning. The same is needed for the current mobile technologies that students use.