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New freedom, New responsibility

Allowing the use of learning devices at Minnehaha requires students to be accountable

When the new Bring your Own Learning Device (B.O.L.D.) program was announced last spring, many students showed their disdain. Some students didn’t want to purchase or rent iPads and were worried that they would not be able to participate in classroom activities, still others didn’t think that integration of the technology would be without extreme difficulty in the classroom.

One of the most prevalent comments heard throughout the hallways was the notion of distraction that the devices would almost certainly cause.

Now that the program has been in full swing since the beginning of the year, many students are reconsidering their early criticisms. However, one large issue still remains: the problem of distraction. The Responsible Use Guidelines for the use of the B.O.L.D. devices clearly addresses the situation.

“During the school day, I will use my personal learning device only for school-related work, as assigned by my teachers.”

This first guideline stipulates that students should not use their device to play games, browse social media sites etc. This rule is not there simply to restrict the student’s freedom during the school day, it exists not only to eliminate potential distractions, but also to deal with the bigger underlying issue of social isolation.

When a person is playing a game on their device and trying to talk to others at the same time, only half of their attention is really on the people that are trying to hold a conversation with them. Besides being incredibly rude to others, being distracted by your device ultimately hurts you. High school is a time to develop social skills and learn how to interact with your peers.

When a person is isolated and engrossed in their technology, they tend to ignore their surroundings and the meaningful connections that are so readily available to them. So much so, that developing and maintaining close friendships can become difficult,

“These good, close relationships — we can’t allow them to wilt away” Jeffrey G. Parker, associate professor of psychology at the University of Alabama, told the New York Times. “They are essential to allowing kids to develop poise and allowing kids to play with their emotions, express emotions, all the functions of support that go with adult relationships.”

We at the Talon encourage you not to take advantage of the responsibility that we’ve been trusted with by our teachers and the administration of our school. We urge students to talk with others, have meaningful social interactions at the lunch table and during flex instead of just isolating yourselves behind your technology.

 

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