Sunday, February 22, 2009

Twitter and PA House Bill 363

I read a blogpost on edublogs the other day from Jen e-Blogger got me thinking. Are any students that you know using Twitter? I have been in a conversation on Twitter about this very subject with lthumann an educator from New Jersey. I use Twitter as part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN) (this post comes from another one of the people I follow on Twitter), and though I have not experienced anything like Jen with a 13 year-old, I am wondering now if students use Twitter? My initial gut feeling is that in Pennsylvania and New Jersey more affluent students are using cell phone texts and instant messaging since Twitter is often blocked in schools. In fact, lthumann (or Lisa Thumann) posted a very interesting article on her blog: Thumann Resources.

In fact in Pennsylvania, the picture on Lisa’s blog may become a reality if Pennsylvania House Bill 363 passes.
Here is the heart of the legislation and what will take the heart out of students and librarians: “The possession by students of telephone paging devices, commonly referred to as beepers, cellular telephones and portable electronic devices that record or play audio or video material shall be prohibited on school grounds, at school sponsored activities and on buses or other vehicles provided by the school district.”

As an elementary librarian I loan out such audio playing devices to students preloaded with audio books. This new legislation would make me a criminal. What is the Pennsylvania Legislature thinking? Why are we going backwards instead of teaching students how to use the devices safely and appropriately? Students live in the 21st Century where such devices are common place, but if this bill passes, the minute they walk onto the school bus and into the school building they will be transported back to the 19th Century.

1 comment:

Lisa Thumann said...

I was talking about with a 5th grade teacher again just yesterday and she explained to me that when she was a kid she didn't have any of these devices. She asked why should students be able to bring them to school now? Why would they need them as she didn't back then? Come on!

Thanks for continuing the conversation.