In a recent survey of students, a significant percentage of them admitted using their cell phones to cheat in class.  First, the good news.  This means a significant percentage of students admitted to using their cell phones for academic purposes.  Now the bad news, if cell phones can be used for cheating, that means that the academic task was by definition, low rigor (knowledge and comprehension).  To assume otherwise would mean that the teacher was completely asleep at the wheel and I’m not willing to concede that point.  Let me make my case.

If I’m going to use my cell phone to teach, I have either pre-loaded some basic information (the electronic cheat sheet) or I quickly searched for a fact (the electronic glance at the chapter or notes).  To get the right answer quickly and discretely (while the teacher is momentarily distracted) means that the question could not have been that difficult (from a cognitive standpoint).  To successfully answer a complex question (from a cognitive standpoint) would require more cheating time, which would mean that the teacher isn’t distracted, but instead isn’t paying attention to the class.

So here is where I’m going with this.  Don’t let the fear of cheating (which is not a new phenomena) be an excuse for banning bootleg technology in the classroom.  Instead make the use of available academic resources a criterion for success in the classroom and keep your head on a swivel.  It’s just good teaching.    

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now using your own bootleg technology devices to follow Twitter.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of April 15, 2012.

1. If your boss is an idiot you essentially have three options. Manage up, hunker down or leave.

2. LYS Nation, if your state representative isn’t willing to fund education he or she is an idiot… so vote them out! (By @cheadhorn)

3. It doesn’t matter how well you know your content, if you don’t connect with students, you can’t be a good teacher.

4. Teacher location during instruction may be the most powerful yet under used tool in a teacher’s toolbox. Live in the Power Zone.

5. Of all the tips to improve the quality of teacher questions in class, the only one you need to remember is, “Prepare The Questions Before Class.”

6. Anyone who believes that kicking a student out of class for a dress code violation is a good deterrent has a limited understanding of child psychology.

7. Doing the right thing consistently is not easy. It is simple, but nothing about it is easy. (By @ ToddWhitaker)

8. Only half in jest. With districts having to cut bus service, why can’t we give the kids who walk or ride their bikes to school a PE credit?

9. In a presentation at the ASCD Conference, Dr. Atul Gawande reported that teacher retention is 65% higher with a coaching model versus an in-service model.

10. Walking on School Street to the original site of the first public school in America, Boston Latin School.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on!
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool); PW Lite (Basic PowerWalks Tool); PW Pro (Mid-level PowerWalks Tool)
  • Confirmed 2012 Presentations: NASB Conference; TASSP Conference (multiple sessions); Region 10 ESC Fall Leadership Conference (Keynote)