Cell phones and schools: a forbidden love?

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“Do you have Wi-fi?”, this is one of the most common requests in public spaces. Besides, the variety of different electronic devices is multiplying, they are also more movable, and the phone companies offer a wide range of fares and services on behalf of so-called “always connected”. Nothing without an app, no one without a smartphone.

However, this model does not seem to evolve towards collaboration and horizontal interaction, but to the creation of consumers isolated in bubbles filtered by algorithms. The design of mobile phones and tablets invites to consume and complicates the production processes; moreover, this consumption act is individual and soundless.

So it is easy to find announcements at the entrance of schools which says “Cell phones are forbidden”. In some way, it makes sense because how can this technological model be integrated into the learning-teaching process? Even today, the educational practice turns to a juggling exercise when these devices must be used as tools for creation and collaborative work, because something as simple as typing a text on a tablet can become a job at a very shaky ladder.

Therefore, people working in education have to confront a double challenge: to defy the evolution of technology towards a passive consumer pattern and achieve a real integration of new methodologies without losing their main aim, which is learning. “OK, so where is the trick?” The trick is that our methods for teaching must change, as our ways for learning have changed. Similarly, we should not forget that people decide how we use a tool, how to use it must not be determined by the tool itself, so it is our duty to decide how will we employ them, in which measure and which value will they have.

Once this is assumed, then we can get round the classroom.

As there is no better inspiration than experience itself, here you are the link to the project “Forbidden love 2.0” (Amores prohibidos 2.0), which was developed at IES A Cachada do Boiro, a high school from A Coruña (Spain). They performed a remake of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: the stage was placed at social networks, Redenasa.tv and a blog, everything narrated in real time and counting on the author (Xespir) as narrator and community manager.