Friday, November 30, 2007

Scary, Isn't it? (cellphones: teachers vs. students)

Our high school's student newspaper recently released an issue totally devoted to cellphones and texting. What originated as an article on the scary practice of texting while driving (guilty myself, sadly) has now become an interesting pair of surveys: first the students, then the staff. What follows are the possibly surprising results.
disclaimer: until I get express permission from the Staff Advisor and newspaper staff, I will not copy any of the article directly, but instead will paraphrase. Things in parentheses are MY comments.

Almost 3/4 of the students surveyed denied texting while driving (still scary to think over a quarter of them have, though!)
Almost ALL students surveyed admitted to texting during the school day (not necessarily class time, though)
About 3/4 of students, believe it or not, paid their own bills.

Second: The STAFF
Sadly, only about half of the faculty members responded to the school-wide email survey (which isn't that surprising given the amount of wasteful paper and emails we get every day).
Only four respondents did not own cell phones.
Surprisingly (to me anyway), 75% of staff had never used text messaging, or used it very infrequently.
Only 5 of us said we sent/received over 20 messages PER WEEK! (I average about 25 per DAY via Twitter, mobile IM, and friends!)

So, what does this say about us? First off, we're putting guidelines in place for students that we don't understand. Students may be using cellphones for useful, maybe even educational purposes right under our noses! If they're doing it anyway, and we're too oblivious to stop it, we have two choices: change our policies, or enforce the consequences in a new way. Next, why aren't we using text messages as staff? Why couldn't we subscribe to colleagues Twitter feeds, the band director's reggae-band MySpace page, blogs, etc? AND...*gulps*, what if students even used those means to contact us?

Nothing has been started regarding relaxing cellphone policies in the schools, but I'm sure with 98% of students already texting during the day, maybe we don't need to!

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