Cell phones during class time are prohibited in the Santa Barbara school district. That has been the policy for quite some time. What is new this school year is how teachers in the district are handling it.
The method is known as “Cell Phone Hotel.” The concept is that when a student walks into class, their phone goes into their numbered slot. Once class is over they can retrieve their phone, but in case of an emergency, the students will have access.
“The phones are right here so if we should have a shooter the students would be in the room with me so they have access to their phones,” said Cate Nelson. “Obviously if we were in an emergency I would absolutely say grab your phones.”
Cate Nelson is a teacher at Dos Pueblos High School and she says that the method is working in her classroom.
“This year we decided to implement a new policy here at D.P. because all of our students have iPads this year they don’t really need their phones during class time.”
Nelson has been using this new cell phone hotel method in class since summer school, like many other teachers across the district.
“I am already seeing a difference,” said Nelson. “What I am seeing is students coming in, putting their phones in without me asking, and I am watching them actually talking to each other.”
Cell phone use has always been prohibited during class, but many teachers would allow students to use their phones for internet access. Not anymore.
“What is different this year is that we have iPads in our classrooms, and every student in high school has access to an iPad so the need to use a cell phone to look up information is no longer necessary,” said Lauren Bianchi Klemann, who is the Santa Barbara Unified School District public information officer.
While some teachers have adopted the cell phone hotel, some don’t see the need.
“It is a new policy and so far I have just not needed it yet,” said Kevin Gleason, art teacher at Dos Pueblos High School. “I will see as time goes by if I want to adopt that because the teachers who have it seem really happy.”
Teachers say eliminating cell phones during class is not only helping kids understand the material better, but also creates more interaction among students.
“By having kids not have their cell phones at their desk, it allows them to act like kids are suppose to act,” said Gleason.
“I have actually had students tell me, I am so glad you took my phone away,” said Nelson. “I am actually addicted to it and it is just so nice to have it gone right now.”