Turn Off the Phone

The pilot made the announcement for the final approach, the landing gear came out, and began to anticipate the landing.  Would it be soft, textbook, a perfect landing?  Or would it be a bumpy touch down, like a teenager learning how to drive?  The landing was perfect, my spine was intact.  What assaulted me next was the clicking, beeping, humming and vibrating noises associated with powering up of multiple cell phones.  We weren’t even at the gate yet and the hundred or so passengers on the plane were already trying to reconnect to their digital world.

More and more I’m seeing cell phones invade my personal life in ways I never would have anticipated.  I come from the business world, long before I joined education I was in sales and expected to be in touch with my employer 24/7.  I left sales for education for many reasons, but most important, I looked forward to being able to turn off my phone.  So, it is no surprise to me the level of frustration I have when I see families out for dinner, couples at a movie, or kids in the middle of a lecture take out their cell phones and start texting away.

One of the ideas we need to start imparting on our students is the ability to be disconnected.  I have an agreement in my classroom, Funny story, I have a student who I have busted several times in the first month for texting during class.  Consequently, as this student feels she does not have the ability to turn her phone off, arrives early and places her phone in my desk drawer to remove the temptation.  After a few weeks she had learned to go through my class without texting that she was able to turn her own phone off.

My other favorite example, checking one’s phone in a dark movie theater.  Recently, while my wife and I were out to our first film since the birth of my daughter, a woman in front of us kept check her Facebook.  I knew this because her screen lit up like a firework every time she turned it on in the dark room.  I had to ask the person twice to turn off her phone, once during previews and again during the first five minutes of the film.  My thought, are you here to see the film or keep track of your personal life?  In this case, I felt this movie goer was more interested in her personal life than the film.  The difference is that I was not going to let this person’s indiscretion ruin my movie experience.

Turning off the phone is not a bad thing.  Having a face to face conversation is not a bad thing, in fact, it can create more opportunity.  I met my wife in MySpace, we emailed, had a phone call, then met in person.  When I met my wife I knew this was a person whom I wanted to spend more time.  Teach your students the importance of face to face time.  Teach them how to be in control of their own time instead of being slaves to their phones.  As a big promoter of tech in the classroom I can just as ardently say, don’t be afraid to tell your kids to turn the phone off.


~ by cadaleaders on October 1, 2010.

One Response to “Turn Off the Phone”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by waldo2526, Matthew Soeth. Matthew Soeth said: New Blog Post, I love technology, but sometimes we need to turn off the phone http://ow.ly/2Nfjf #edtech #edchat #elearning […]

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