I’m not talking about what I do with it. Just the device itself.
Is it rude?
I realize that people can use it in rude ways, but does that make the thing itself rude?
I ask this question because after sharing my experience that my previous post describes with some colleagues, the reaction I got was something like “Oh, well … I mean, that’s unfortunate, but it was a cell phone.”
And when I ask, “So if it had been a lap top, or my iPad, or a piece of paper, would it have been rude?” the response is “No, I don’t think that would be considered rude.”
So what is it about the cell phone that immediately makes some people automatically attach labels like “rude” “unprofessional” and “off-task”?
I think this is a case of residual anachronistic perceptions about what cell phones are used for, and at the risk of sounding ageist, I think it’s (sometimes) generational. I’m not sure when the last time was I actually used my iPhone as a phone–actually yes I do. I used it to do a Facetime call with my friend who lives in Alberta. The rest of the time I use my phone to text, send email, blog, enter information into my calendar, listen to music, search the web, and jot down ideas.
I suspect that those colleagues who winced when I said “cell phone” are the same people who, if they own a cell phone, only use it as a phone, and therefore have a hard time understanding how it can be used for learning purposes. And this is not an ageist thing, now that I think about it because I have a colleague who is younger than I am and she also winces a bit when I talk about cell phones in the classroom.
My friend Royan ominously commented on my previous post that:
Seriously though, I think your little experience has touched on a growing divide in our systems. I think there’s something of a quiet civil war occurring.
A quiet civil war? Yikes! I’d hate to think that’s really happening. Don’t we have more important things to worry about than the devices students (or teachers) use for learning? Shouldn’t we be worried about the learning itself?