With today’s technological advancements making cell phones ubiquitous in almost every aspect of people’s lives, it’s no wonder cell phones in schools have become a hotly debated topic. There are advocates on both sides: some claim that cell phones are an inappropriate distraction during school hours, others accept students’ familiarity with them and use them in class. While the jury is still out, both sides have some intriguing points.
Mobile phone advocates claim that device use in educational settings has many benefits; some of these advantages include:
- Parental involvement. Students can use cell phones equipped with cameras to take pictures of projects they complete in class, such as group projects that use only class time. Generally, in these situations, students do not conduct any research or montage of such projects at home, so parents cannot see the result of their children’s efforts in the classroom. Allowing students to use cell phones in this capacity encourages parental involvement in their children’s lives, in addition to supporting their educational development.
- Missing tasks. Teachers can implement a buddy system in which students email or text each other details of assignments that their classmate missed due to an absence. This will save teachers valuable time that they otherwise would have spent putting together makeup packages and instill a sense of responsibility among students for themselves and each other.
- Take notes. Students who have trouble keeping up in class when taking notes can use their mobile phone’s camera feature to take photos of the notes and save them for later study and show to parents / guardians, as well as classmates. class that may have lost part of them. Teachers can also incorporate note taking pictures into their peer system for missing assignments, and allow students to resend missing information during class time to absent peers, and also allow them to receive such information if they are absent.
- Real world tools. Cell phones often have features like calculators, which most high school math classes require. Using the calculator function of your cell phone can teach students the real-world ability of using what they have on hand to calculate math problems in their daily lives.
- Improving focus. Students with music-capable cell phones and headphones may use them during homework or independent study periods. Many students find listening to music to be a relaxing study habit, and studies of learning styles indicate that some students learn best while listening to music while working on problems or reading. Students who are comfortable while studying are more likely to study longer, more often, and produce more positive results than those who do not listen to music.
On the other hand, many believe that cell phones will only contribute to existing problems in schools, such as cheating, disrespecting teachers and staff, and instigating problems among other students; some even cite the possibility of using cell phones for illegal activities during school.
- Unfaithful. The use of a cell phone, regardless of the user’s age or the location from which they use the phone, carries responsibility. Some proponents of banning cell phones in schools claim that using a cell phone’s camera feature allows students to cheat on tests by taking photos of answer keys, test content, or responses. in the role of a neighbor.
- Disrespect. Students can use their phones for all kinds of shenanigans in class, including using their audio recording feature to record teachers or other staff during lectures or other conversations without them noticing the recording. Students could then use those recordings to take the speaker’s words out of context and present them in a manipulative light.
- Instigating trouble. Students may use their cell phones during school to cause trouble among students and harass others. School-related violence and bullying are on the rise, and officials are already very busy dealing with problem students and maintaining order in their institutions; Allowing students to use devices like cell phones during school hours will make these problems easier to perpetrate and more difficult to control.
- Illegal activities. Students may use cell phones during school to carry out illicit activities such as placing or receiving requests for drug deals, causing students to fight each other, placing and placing bets on sporting events or other forms of gambling, or planning events. such as bomb threats and other security breaches.
- Distraction. Almost everyone in favor of banning cell phones in schools says that allowing them to be used in class will distract students from their studies. Features like internet access and video game capabilities are most often cited as the biggest distractions. While the internet can provide legitimate research capabilities, video games provide no educational benefit whatsoever.
Today there are schools that make use of both policies. Wiregrass Ranch High School in Pasco County uses cell phones in many of its classes, including English, math, and social studies. Teachers allow students to use their phones to research literature and authors, calculate math problems, and take photos for class projects, among other tactics. Students in this district say they feel more respected and trusting than students in districts that do not have that privilege, and they recognize that devices can help them learn more about their world, both past and present. Regarding the area of behavior management, school teachers no longer have to fight daily with students to put their phones away or pay attention during class. Instead, they are integrating cell phone use into their lesson plans and students are more involved during class and benefit. Students can go about their personal business on their cell phones before and after school, as well as during lunch and break periods, so personal distractions really aren’t a problem. Administrators recognize that some students will and will abuse the privilege. There are rules, such as usage restrictions and the removal of other non-cell phone privileges, to discourage potential silly offers.
Most schools across the country install some form of cell phone ban in their districts, mainly due to their connections to illegal activities and their disruptions during classes. Some cite safety concerns, stating that students’ quick access to cell phones while on campus does not make them safer in the event of a violent event, even going so far as to claim that they can complicate the work of first responders in such a case. . These schools also say that easy access to cell phones during the school day only ignites rumors and worsens bullying situations among students. As such, many of them enforce a “see it, go for it” policy and notify students, as well as parents, of the strict nature of those policies.
Some schools have begun to relax their cell phone policies, while others continue to uphold their bans, even tightening their rules prohibiting the presence and use of cell phones on campus. Both parties have their own clear reasons for sticking to their courses of action, and only time will tell which theory is most successful in educating students.