Txt Msgs N Ur Skulz

Two stories are being talked about this week which consider text messaging in Canadian schools: one from the University of Calgary and one from a high school in Nova Scotia. The stories look at the benefits and drawbacks of text messaging in schools. The benefits, as were brought up after several disturbing incidents at colleges in the United States and Canada, are from a widespread, instant warning system which could reach students to notify them of potentially dangerous situations. The drawbacks? Covert communications resulting in undesirable situations in schools. Here are the stories:

From September, 2007: The Unviersity of Calgary's Emergency Text Messaging System:


From March 2008, school boards are asked by the Provincial Eduaction Department to review their text messaging policies. Also, here.  Note the reference to 99% of kids having cell phones. Um… wow?

Word also is that the largest university in the region is also getting with the text message warning system.

What's your opinion on this? Should text messaging be limited to out-of-class time, banned altogether, or restricted up until the University level? Personally, in high school, my biggest risk was having my Sony tape-walkman taken away if I got busted for having my earbuds in. And yet I still aced physics that year. Clearly those were very different times.

Posted bythemikestand at 11:54 AM  

4 stepped up to the mike:

cadiz12 said... 6:17 PM, March 28, 2008  

when i was in school, our biggest issue was people entering formulas, etc. on their graphic calculators and using them on the test. i can't even imagine being a kid today. even if they did ban them, how much time would it take teachers/administrators to police that kind of thing if 99% of students have cellphones?

Lesley said... 8:40 PM, March 28, 2008  

The issue here is not the phones. The fight (which my youngest brother almost got pulled into by being in the wrong place at the wrong time) would have happened regardless. The same way fights happened before texting...word of mouth.

The real issue here is the
culture of violence that is getting worse but we are steadfastly ignoring because it's unpleasant to think about.

I'm not worried about 99% of students having a cell phone.

I am TERRIFIED that so many of them are now involved in gangs. Full bore, weapon carrying, blood-in blood out gangs. And if you think it's not in your neighbourhood, you're delusional.

THAT's what we should concern ourselves with, not cell phones.

themikestand said... 8:18 AM, March 29, 2008  

cadiz: Yeah, we used to use those calculators to pass notes, too. I guess everything is relative as time marches on.

lesley: While I don't doubt that the issue of school violence is a much bigger issue here (and really the root of my post),do you see a way to curb the symptoms of violence as it's perpetrated with cell phones as tools? The violence of course scares me more than the text messaging, even as a mere "distraction".

Lesley said... 12:10 PM, March 31, 2008  

Mike, honestly if it were not the phones, then they would find another way. Yes a text message can be incredibly fast because you can basically reach everyone in your contact list with one message(they had to lock down Cole Harbour Place as students who were on break there tried to leave and get to the school as they received their messages, plus several car loads of people arrived who were not attending the school that day, or at all), but to be totally honest we had brawls that were similar in size long before texting. They just took longer to plan.

Speaking of plans, apparently something else is going to go down on Wednesday. I'm trying to convince my mom to keep my brother home this week.

At this brawl 6 male students, who happen to be black and fairly big kids, ganged up on one lone white female. And they stomped the crap out of her. According to my brother she had blond hair and it was comepletely red with blood by the time they stopped (or were stopped).

Cell phones have nothing to do with that kind of brutality.

I do not doubt cell phone use is an issue in the schools. I don't think they have any place in the school at all frankly. They are too easily abused. But if we are taking resources to deal with the issue of cell phones, then that comes at a price. Those resources will have to be pulled from somewhere...and I'm betting it will take away from policing the perpetrators of these violent attacks.

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