OPINION: Welcoming the use of cell phones in the classroom

By Natalie Mooney, ’19

So many of us millennials remember those middle school days of our Razor and Sidekick phones, and yet we think it is so crazy that so many tweens nowadays are getting iPhones and smartphones. This is where technology has taken us and we should welcome it, because it will only get better from here. With the new age of technology, this also brings in the problem of cell phones being used in the classroom. But should we think of this as a problem or should we recognize this new technology as a helpful learning tool in classrooms?  The zero-tolerance policy of cell phone use in the classroom is outdated and teachers should welcome the use of smartphones in classrooms.

The amount of educational apps circulating these days is astounding. Apps like Socrative and Kahoot take away the need for computers in the classroom. These apps allow students to answer quiz questions as a class and are great teaching tools in order to get students excited about learning. These apps also allow students to practice with test questions, which can take away at least some of the inevitable test anxiety so many teens deal with. Students have essentially small computers in their hands at all times. Using these apps will help students practice for tests and quizzes, according to the National Education Association, and they are actually helpful for teachers in order to bring in new strategies for learning. Because of new apps that are being produced, teachers should welcome the use of these apps while in class to assist with learning and test prep.

When students already respect their teacher, they will be less likely to use their phones purely out of this respect. When the zero-tolerance policy is put in place, students become more inclined to break the rules. When there is no zero-tolerance policy, they will learn respect and if disciplinary action is needed, it can be implemented. When the teacher implements activities and lectures that are interesting, students are less likely to feel the need to use their phones in class. Students only pull their phones out when they get bored, so the more important thing is to keep them from getting bored by doing more upbeat things than just reading from a textbook. It is as much in the teacher’s hands as it is with the students. When students respect the teacher and the lessons, they will naturally be less likely to use their phones in class. When students are taught respect from day one, it sets a tone for the year and the policies that are necessary.

The consequences of cell phone use in classrooms right now is too high for good students. Cell phone use is a minor offense but is treated as major and that should be changed. Good students should not be sent to the office or have disciplinary actions taken for such a small thing, yet this is one of the things students get in trouble for the most. They are losing more class time by being disciplined than when they had their phone out. The “if I see it, I take it” policy is too harsh. I remember in my high school physics class, I had gotten my phone out to use right as class ended and I was disciplined for doing so, even though I was walking out of the classroom. I thought this was quite ridiculous. I was otherwise a good student, yet I was being reprimanded for such a small offense. The consequences should not be as major as they are, and schools should implement different types of discipline for different types of actions.

While cell phones can be distracting, there is a time and a place for them which educators should welcome as learning tools. The policies in place in high schools now are outdated and should be revised in order to welcome in the new wave of technology that is here to stay.

Categories: Other

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