With School Ban Nearing End, New York City Works on How and When to Allow Cellphones
As New York prepares to lift its longstanding ban on cellphones carried by students in schools, it joins an increasing number of cities, including Chicago and Miami, where school leaders are yielding to the ubiquity of mobile phones and the futility of trying to keep them out of the classroom.
In an era when many parents want constant access to their children and students live in a digital social milieu, banning cellphones from schools is increasingly seen as counterproductive. And teachers are experimenting with technology and finding that the miniature computers many students carry in their pockets can be valuable classroom tools.
Schools are trying out various policies, with some permitting students to use their phones only during breaks or at lunch. Others are encouraging students to bring cellphones to school, where teachers invite them to conduct web searches or view educational videos. Even in districts with bans in place, educators realize they cannot stop students from using their phones.
“I don’t think it’s going to be very long before it becomes very standard” for schools to allow all students to carry cellphones, said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators. “I think the horse is pretty much out of the barn in general.”
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