Do we need a rubric for everything? School vs Learning

As I continue to be pulled into conversations about  banning Cell Phones (a very hot topic in Ontario this week), I am considering the extent to which it applies to the dichotomy of “school” vs “learning”.

In particular, Andrew Campbell shared the following cell phone rubric created by David Hunter:

While I really like what is being shared in the rubric, and I do like the idea of providing clear expectations for students, I don’t feel comfortable with this being a rubric.  Specifically, I can see some people taking it and using it “as is” as an expectation for compliance vs using it as a conversation starter and a springboard for co-construction of your own classroom rules.

I worry about our tendency in “school” to create rubrics for things and evaluate behaviours instead of focusing on allowing students to explore concepts and ideas together with us.

Students and teachers definitely need to explore how cell phones are powerful tools for learning, and need to self-regulate the extent to which they are distracted by their devices, but giving a rubric out and expecting students to fall in line, undermines the intricacies of the topic as well as student voice around it.

I think we maybe do this too often in school.

I LOVE what Lisa Rubini-LaForest did with this rubric with her students. Check it out here!

(Shortest blog post ever).  This blog post is part of this MOOC (massive open online course) centered around George Couros’ book The Innovator’s Mindset. This week, we were challenged to write posts in under 200 words. Check out the #IMMOOC hashtag to see some conversation about innovation in education, and look for the #IMMOOCB1, #IMMOOCB2, and & #IMMOOCB3 for more of these short posts.

2 thoughts on “Do we need a rubric for everything? School vs Learning

  1. Lisa Colburn Morrison

    I think the concern you have regarding “some people taking it and using it ‘as is’ as an expectation for compliance” is a real problem. I see the rubric the way you do, as a tool to discuss and promote self-regulation of cellphone use within a classroom. For that to be effective, it needs to be discussed as a class, and tweaked to suit the needs of the individual group.

    My biggest struggle with the attempt to rigidly regulate cell phone use in the classroom is that I think it’s futile (at least at the high school level). Working in a BYOD environment, I feel it is unrealistic to one minute tell students to use their devices to research, discover and create and the next minute tell them to put them away and not use them. Like it or not, cell phones come with distractions. No matter how exciting or engaging a lesson is, students will still be tempted to check their text messages, emails, twitter feed, snapchat etc. And whether you are of the BYOD or the “Off and Away” mentality, they are going to find a way to do it. So why not teach them how to minimize these distractions and use their phones effectively?

    If our real aim is to foster the development of the tools needed for success beyond high school, we need to teach proper etiquette and the ability to multi-task. Cell phones are not banned in the workplace, so we need to help students prepare to use them effectively and appropriately. A tool such as the above rubric is a good place to start, but it’s certainly not the finish line.

    1. Post author

      Thanks for reading and for your comments, Lisa! Love your affirmation that it’s unrealistic to “use their devices to research, discover, and create and the next minute tell them to put them away.” Hope you are well! ox


Leave a Reply