That's crazy! That's not really learning.
But wait . . . maybe it is?
When the NYC DOE changed the cell phone policy, allowing phones to enter the school building, UAGC made a choice.
Rather than ban cell phones in the classroom, as some schools have done, UAGC believed the ability to control your own cell phone use, rather than be controlled by it, is an important learning experience for all students.
Additionally, cell phones give many students personalized access to the internet that they might not otherwise have (if we consider the disparity of school funding).
A recent NYTimes article would seem to back up our decision. In it, Kenneth Goldsmith at the University of Pennsylvania discusses the role of the internet in a changing educational landscape:
What will an educated person be in the future?
We still read great books, and there is a place for great universities. But an educated person in the future will be a curious person who collects better artifacts. The ability to call up and use facts is the new education. How to tap them, how to use them.
This ability to access is foundational to the learning that happens at UAGC. We have, literally at our fingertips, a world of information. The classroom now needs to be a place where curious people can learn to collect those "better artifacts." Real innovation looks different. Goldsmith goes on:
I’ve got a 10-year-old and 17-year-old. They’re thinking differently from me. They stay connected all the time, and they’re smart, they play baseball, they read, they spend time online. They’re not robots. Basic human qualities haven’t changed. I can find Plato in online life. When I read Samuel Pepys’s diary I see Facebook posts. We just find new ways to express things.
Our one-of-a-kind writing program allows students to engage in just that sort of work. By giving all students access to the internet, to exploring, to inventing, it may look like they're wasting time: Not really.