Friday, February 8, 2013

Student iPhone Contract

Recently, Janell Burley Hofmann published a contract for her son, Gregory, on her blog.  You can read the original here.  It went viral, garnering attention from major news outlets all over the country for its straightforward, common sense approach and expectations.  Here is a revised edition, for students:

Dear Student,
Oh, Happy Day!   You are now the proud user of an iOS device.  Wohoo!  You are a good & responsible student and you deserve this opportunity.  But with the acceptance of this opportunity comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope that you understand it is our job to educate you into a well rounded, healthy young person that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iOS usage.

We love teaching madly & look forward to sharing several million teachable moments with you in the days to come.
 1. It is the district's device.  Taxpayers bought it.  They paid for it.  We are loaning it to you.  Aren’t we the greatest?

 2.  We will always know the password.

 3.  Hand the device to your teacher promptly whenever they should ask for it.

4.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

5.  Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay out of the crossfire. 

6.  Do not text, email, post, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

7.  Do not text, email, post, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

8.  Nothing inappropriate.  Search the web for information you would openly share with your teachers.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person.

9.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow any device to change that.

10.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is impossible to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.

11.  Take a zillion pictures and videos.  Document everything.  Live your experiences, and learn the power of storytelling.  That is part of the reason why we are giving you this device to use.  You have a voice, learn to use it.  Memories will be stored in your mind for eternity, but your work can live in the minds of others.  

12.  Leave your device home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out. 

13.  Download media that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to, read, watch, and play the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to information and media like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.  

14.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

15.  Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without googling.  If you are curious enough to google it later, go ahead.  Just remember what made you wonder in the first place, and give it some more thought.

16.  You will probably mess up.  Your device might be taken.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  We are always learning.  We are on your team.  We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the device, but to life.  You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  We hope you enjoy your awesome new device.  Have a great school year!

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