The great thing about my job is that I get to visit all types of schools in every imaginable setting, day after day.  The frustrating thing about my job is that over 95% of the schools I visit are actively discouraging the use of bootleg technology by students. Sad, just sad…

However, I understand why this is the case. Bootleg technology has now evolved beyond traditional school policy.  The ban on electronics begins in the age of the transistor radio.  My father’s favorite school story (that he is willing to share with his children) is how he would sneak a pocket-sized transistor radio and earpiece into class so he could listen to the World Series.  This was obviously a case of technology representing an instructional distraction, hence the need to ban the electronics. 

The next big leap in portable technology was the pager.  These started showing up in the mid 80’s.  There were almost no legitimate reasons for a student to be in possession of a pager during school hours.  So the technology ban remained in effect.

Then the next big leap in portable technology was the cellular phone.  These started showing up in mass in the mid 90’s.  There were almost no legitimate reasons for a student to be in possession of a cellular phone during school hours.  So the technology ban remained in effect.

Then, the next big leap in portable technology was portable gaming systems and MP3 players.  These started showing up in the early 2000’s.  There were almost no legitimate instructional reasons for a student to be in possession of a game player or MP3 player during school hours.  So the technology ban remained in effect.

But in 2007, the world of portable technology changed.  The smart phone arrived.  Now student began to arrive in class with portable, connected, high-speed computers in their pockets.  If we can learn to ignore our educators’ bias against radios, phones and games there are legitimate instructional reasons for students to use these tools in class.  Now, after over 60 years of “No,” it is time to revisit our institutional ban against personal technology.  

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 October 7, 2012.

1. If campus leadership isn’t organized and on the ball, the teaching staff has next to no chance for real success.

2. However, a well-run campus can overcome district incompetence almost indefinitely.

3. Okay I’m throwing it out there… Policies written for the worst teachers only monkey with the best. The worst still don’t care. (By @Shakespeare72)

4. If your STAAR remediation strategy is for students to work problems from the TAKS practice book, you’ve already lost, and its only October.

5. Expertise changes the brain: People who are experts on automobiles actually see cars differently from the rest of us. (By @anniemurphypaul)

6. The best self-control is setting up a situation where you don’t need to exercise self-control. (By @anniemurphypaul)

7. As a Principal, here was my focus for school discipline. Remove the chance to make a bad choice and the right choice is the default action.

8. Only half of poor preschoolers have alphabet books, compared to 97% of children whose parents are professionals. (By @anniemurphypaul)

9. Our schools and roads may not be in great shape, but our political attack ads are the envy of the world. (By @BorowitzReport)

10. If you think putting 39 students in the science lab is a good idea, you must be a Texas Senate or House member.

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 Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “Look at Me: A Cautionary School Leadership Tale” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/lookatmebook 
  • 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)
  • Upcoming Presentations: Region 10 ESC Fall Leadership Conference (Keynote), Advancing Improvement in Education Conference (Multiple Presentations), TASSP Assistant Principals’ Workshop (Featured Speaker), American Association of School Administrators Conference (Multiple Presentations), National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation
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