By Brittney Goldenstein – Lincoln High School put in a new cell phone policy this year to try and get the cell phone usage during class under control. The PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Support) team worked over the spring and summer of 2015 to create a policy that would give both teachers and students a clearer view of what the expectations for electronics should be. “That policy isn’t necessarily new,” Associate Principal Tanner Penrod said. “But we wanted to keep it open, where teachers had the discretion to incorporate electronic devices into their classroom if it’s going to be appropriate.”
The PBIS team wanted to create a clear visual representation for both students and teachers, so they decided to go with the stoplight. Having a stoplight figure with red, yellow, and green signs posted up around the room to indicate whether or not you can use your phone may seem elementary to some students and teachers who felt turned away and put off by how the policy looks and how it is marketed.
Penrod said, “I haven’t had a lot of conversations with students about their thoughts about it, and I would welcome the feedback of any student especially if they think it’s condescending or demeaning.”
What if there were an incentive to stay off your phone during class or even during school? Would you follow the cell phone policy then? There is an app called Pocket Points that gives you rewards for staying off your phone during class while you are on campus.
The number of minutes you stay off of your phone equals a certain number of points, and those points can then be used to get rewards at businesses in the local area that partner with Pocket Points.
Some examples, listed on their website pocketpoints.com, of businesses that partner with Pocket Points are Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Wendy’s, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Smoothie King, Dunkin Donuts, KFC, Starbucks, Subway, Buffalo Wild Wings, Pizza Hut, Panda Express, Burger King, IHop, and other local places too.
There is also another bonus to using Pocket Points; the minutes you rack up are worth more points if more students are using the app during school. Currently the schools in Lincoln teamed with Pocket Points are UNL, Union College, and Bryan College of Health Sciences.
On the topic of using Pocket Points at LHS, Assoicate Principal Tanner Penrod said, “I am always one for reinforcing through positive, tangible rewards if at all possible.”
As technology evolves, and more and more kids have devices, the school needs to continue teaching students, staff, and adults how to use them responsibly, Penrod said. “I am all ears when it comes to new creative and innovative ideas.”
Penrod added, “I think that they way that education and educators look at electronic devices is going to continue to evolve, so I know that we need to be creative with how we enforce policies and ensure that the policies we do have are appropriate, that they are fair for both the teachers and students.”
The cell phone policy is in place to help us succeed in school as students. If students follow the rules and comply with the policies administration puts in place, there could be less hassle and maybe fun things could come out of it in the end.
Maybe as the policies change and develop we will hit green lights from here on out and won’t be stuck at red lights.