In New York City the mayor has banned students from using the technology they own and love for learning in school. This decision is not left to teachers, parents, school boards, or administrators. It is a mayoral mandate that despite protests, is closed for discussion.
Here is why the chancellor and mayor do not give students the freedom to choose the tools that work best for learning:
1) Since 2006 the mayor has vigorously defended the ban on student owned digital devices in school calling them unnecessary and disruptive distractions that interfere with learning.
2) In light of the recent scandal at Stuyvesant High School, the NYC school chancellor explained that we must ban students from using their own technology because people are always trying to think of new ways to do things like get answers to questions. He says, that’s cheating and it’s not acceptable.
3) The mayor's latest rationale for banning student tech in schools is kids might use them to watch pornography. “You have a big liability with pornography. The city would get sued right away.” And, in fact, it is our systems lawyers who are making policies and guidelines for students and teachers.
School policies and guidelines look very different when those in charge spend time working, or at least consulting, with those who know how to empower students to learn about that which is meaningful to them with the tools they love and/or own. When that happens policies can shift focus from doing what is easiest, to doing what is best for students.