Movie theaters solved the problem of cell phones ringing during films by running humorous reminders to turn off phones. Schools (at least in the world’s biggest public system here in New York City) have forbidden cell phones in class and left trust out of the formula. So, enforced education has created yet another discipline problem. Today’s article here in the New York Times describes how kids are using a high frequency ringtone (that most adult ears cannot hear) to operate their phones during class. Here is part of the story from the Times:
David Herzka, a Roslyn High School freshman, said he researched the British phenomenon a few weeks ago on the Web, and managed to upload a version of the high-pitched sound into his cellphone.
He transferred the ring tone to the cellphones of two of his friends at a birthday party on June 3. Two days later, he said, about five students at school were using it, and by Tuesday the number was a couple of dozen.
“I just made it for my friends. I don’t use a cellphone during class at school,” he said.
How, David was asked, did he think this new device would alter the balance of power between adults and teenagers? Or did he suppose it was a passing fad?
“Well, probably it is,” said David, who added after a moment’s thought, “And if not, I guess the school will just have to hire a lot of young teachers.”
Do we have to wait until David’s generation supplys the teachers a few years from now, to catch on to using the phones the students have as a class tool for learning instead of banning them while kids ply pencils and PCs in class? And even though it is said here in some jest, I suppose, where is the trust in the notion of “balance of power between adults and teenagers”? I think the purpose of education is to empower kids with knowledge — wow, I’m really old school!