187 Notifications


I tried it. Just for one day. A student let me hold on to his cell phone from 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.. During school hours. Breakfast starts at 7:00 a.m.. Remedial support classes run from 2:50-3:30 p.m.. One cell phone. One student. That’s a longer school day than most schools. Nice phone too. An Apple 11. Super neat. Expensive, but really advanced. I do not have one, myself. Too much money for me to swallow for a cell phone. Sorry . . . for a SMARTPHONE. I’m happy with my $179 LG Stylo 4. I’m used to it. It does everything that I need from a smartphone and more. I get good service. It is super quick. Connects to WiFi, always. Most of my banner notifications are turned off, though. I keep only the basics turned on, such as texting notifications and missed call notifications, but that’s just me. I minimize distractions and check social media on my terms. But, that is not the case for all people, for all students.

I kept my student’s phone in my pocket. All day long. I checked it periodically when it vibrated or chimed even when it went off constantly. I was a good administrator to my student. I charged it when it needed charging. Only once, though, for a very short period of time. The power of power!

At the end of the day, there were 187 notifications on my student’s smartphone. Most were banner notifications. Snapchat. Instagram. Texts. Email. Missed calls. 187. A 9th grader. Is he popular? I don’t even know what "popular" means, anymore. He’s a nice kid. Respectful. Works hard. Again, this is just one student. One day. One phone.

I cannot help to think that something feels awkward, however. It’s 2020. Technology. Schools of innovation. A new era of education. Things that I never dealt with when I was a kid.

But, now let’s "talk turkey" . . .

Julie Smith's book, Master the Media is a HUGE resource.

So many innovative educators and thought leaders pride themselves on communicating about the power of using our smartphones for instruction. Sure, there is a purpose, but there are also distractions. Many distractions. My students have access to Chromebooks on a daily basis. Unlimited Chromebooks. They can do whatever they need, instructionally, so WHY do schools allow distractions in their classrooms?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Be open. Be honest. I’m not opposed to having smartphones stored in lockers unless a teacher feels the need to have them for instructional purposes, but those purposes need to be REAL and important.

But . . . if there is a fist-fight among students . . . it won’t be on video . . .

If there is an issue with school life . . . it won’t be on video . . .

If there is a grievance of any kind . . . it won't be on video . . .

If there is a normal conversation . . . it won't be on video . . .

Someone had to say it.

I did.

In this blog.

If you disagree.

I’m OK with that.

But, tell me why.

What I DO know is that if I was a teacher in a classroom and received 187 phone calls per day, from the front office, on my classroom phone . . .

I would be quite UPSET and DISTRACTED.

Push the Right Boundaries!

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Rick Jetter, Ph.D.

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Tonawanda, NY 14150

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