When I moved to the rural Philippines a couple years ago, our Catholic church had a large sign: Turn off cellphones in church. Well, I understand that Father didn’t want to cope with a lot of cellphone tones going off during the prayers.

And in the US, many churches and restaurants started to employ equipment to stop cellphone use where conversations annoy others, until the FCC reminded them that it was still illegal, with good reason: it might block emergency calls.

Yup. I know that. When I lived in rural Minnesota, we were on secondary backup call 24/7. So if there was a major fire or car wreck on a Sunday morning, you’d sometimes hear a dozen pagers going off during Mass–including that of the priest.

But in the Philippines, cellphones are cheap, “loads” for text messages is even cheaper, and everyone, even our farmers and cook, have access to the family cellphones.

We may be in a rural area, but the kids are tech savvy, texting back and forth, exchanging cellphone photos, and playing games on the cellphone. And of course they do all this in school and church….hence the sign.
The problem of sitting in a classroom or church listening to a lecture or sermon is that the data input is too slow, so the mind wanders. As a result, people fidget, or leaf through their bibles, or doodle on the side of their notebook…or text their girlfriend…or (in a modern classroom where computers are allowed) surf the internet.
And of course this annoys teachers.

But now Synchroneyes to the rescue!

Banning computers would mean that students couldn’t take notes, so some schools tried using tiny cameras to spy on the student’s computer screens to find i which nefarious students are playing World of Warcraft instead of taking notes…but now they have another option:

The technology could connect a teacher’s computer with every computer in a networked classroom….

The professor is able to also control access to the Internet or to specific computer applications by blocking students individually or as a group.

So students will simply have to go back to the good old days of exchanging messages and playing games on their cellphones and palmpockets.

And if it becomes legal to block cellphone signals in the classroom, I guess students will have to go back to the good old days of doodling in the margin and passing messages by spitballs and paper airplanes.

So while the US Congress is feeling proud of themselves for stopping snooping on terrorist emails without a court order, your kids can be legally spied upon by their boring professors, and punished if they don’t toe the line.

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(headsup Instpundit)

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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