Cellphone Technology Research


Rina Rossi and Anjali Zope

Right now, PCS administration, student government, and assorted teachers and students have been conducting research and working to update our existing cell phone policy. Through a collaboration between community members, this committee hope to discover the best way for students to learn while still using technology appropriately. Randy Garrett, Math Department Chair at PCS, and Sarah Madsen, a senior student, have led the charge in this new technology crusade. As a result of a series of meetings around the issues of school technology use, PCS has been testing out a new system for cell phone usage: instructing students to place their phones in a “Phone Home” for the entirety of a class period in order to create a less distracting environment and limit academic dishonesty. Members of this committee have been conducting research into a variety of local cell phone policies in order to inform PCS’ cell phone policy.

Saratoga High School’s cell phone policy prohibits cell phones in the classroom and building. However, cell phone use is limited in certain outdoor parts of the school such as the field and parking lots. Saratoga High School’s electronic use policy instructs that “the use of electronics to record teachers, staff or students in any format including audio recording, video recording, still photography etc. without written consent of all parties involved is prohibited”, and any violation of the electronic use policy could potentially result in attending Saturday School as punishment. Likewise, Gateway School does not allow their students to use cell phones in class unless otherwise instructed. However, if Gateway students choose to bring their cell phones to school, the devices must be turned off and securely stowed away in students’ backpacks. Another local school, Mission Hill Middle School, requires all students to “leave toys, electronic games, and audio equipment, etc., at home” as these devices “do not make any contribution to academic achievement”, implementing a seemingly more stringent cell phone policy than Gateway.

On the other hand, York School, a coeducational school located in Monterey, requires each student to bring a charged laptop each day to school for educational purposes, and allows smartphones as long as they are not distracting. Kirby and Soquel High School have a similar cell phone policy. Both schools do not allow cell phone use during class, but permit it for break and lunch. However, according to Julianna Marguiles, a sophomore at Soquel High School, “some teachers let [students] use [cell phones] for class work [and] for fun”, the school clearly seeing cell phones as having some contribution to academic achievement, contrary to Mission Hill Middle School’s beliefs.

As stated before, PCS is currently in the research process for our cell phone policy. PCS is not yet in the process of implementing a permanent cell phone “ban” or any new rule. Currently, PCS is focusing on using research and data to figure out the best way to regulate cell phone use in school. This includes forming an upcoming survey to receive input from students and parents, and finding a way to track hours of cell phone use while in school. Also being considered is the best way to implement some sort of possible regulation or ban. At the same time, PCS recognizes that cell phones are an important part of daily life and does not want to take away from the learning experience of students.

Mr. Garrett, the head of the cell phone research, holds Tuesday lunch meetings for the policy in his room. All students are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you are a PCS student who wants to be involved with researching the best way to learn while using technology appropriately, please be alert for upcoming cell phone policy meetings throughout the year.