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Students and cellphones

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Students and Cellphones
Who doesn’t have a cellphone these days? With increasing technology and more child friendly apps and games, children have more access to technology than ever before. Children take their phone everywhere they go. Often young children can be seen teaching their parents tips to using their cellphones. Just like adults, children often are glued to their phones and take them everywhere they go, even to their classroom at school. Should cellphones be banned from school, because they lead to excessive distraction in the classroom?

The proliferation of technology and social media is changing the way educators teach and the way teachers and students communicate.

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This complete shift in the role of technology in the classroom is fundamentally changing the way students learn at all educational levels. Since it is inevitable that technology will only become more involved in daily life in the workplace and classroom, it is important to carefully study how this technology affects learning outcomes.

In order to make the best decision the pros and cons to cellphones in the classroom must be carefully compared. Do the benefits outweigh the distraction they may be to students? Let us take a look at how technology distracts students during their studies, and how can we prepare our kids to be ready to use technology safely. During classroom instruction students can put their cellphones on vibrate, silent or turn them off. Most students will forget to do this at least once in their school career. When they forget and they get a phone call or a text message from someone the entire class will stop and turn their attention to their classmate’s phone. Even if students put their cellphones on vibrate mode, they still can be heard. Everybody will turn to take a look at what caused this sudden noise, and the teacher will be forced to stop explaining. In this kind of situation valuable time is often wasted. With more pressure on teachers to meet performance standards, teachers are already pressed to make every minute count. The ring of a cellphone can distract students from their lesson. It then will take more time to allow for them to refocus again, particularly younger students. Whatever the rules are at their school, students often send text messages to each other during class, and they attempt to reply under the desk. This can also distract them from their education.

Cellphones could be a device used by students to cheat. During a test session, students can exchange messages through many creative hiding spots. Students can simply ask a classmate or somebody knowledgeable in a specific area what the answer is. Teachers surely can survey the students, but they can’t keep an eye on all of them at the same time. Students, whether in elementary school or in the university setting, are always creative at thinking up new ways to exchange answers during exams and quizzes. With the ease and small size of a cell phone, students now have a new and easy tool at their disposal to try to cheat. Through cellphones, students are able to access Facebook and lots of other social networking sites. Facebook is a popular and free website that is used by billions of users every day. Users create personal profile, exchange messages, share pictures, leave comments, and write whatever is on their mind on their personal page for all of their friends to see. Although Facebook is a form of social media which is wildly popular and meant to keep me people in contact with friends and family, students in middle and high schools are using Facebook in a different way. According to the article “school children are not ready for social networking” parents received a call from the school principal to inform them that their daughter got suspended from school.

The reason behind her punishment was because she had created a group page on Facebook called “Eric is a hairy beast.” She and her school friends were making fun of this shy boy by uploading pictures and taunting him. Eric came to school to learn in the first place, and being bullied pushed him away. He was not concentrating on his studies anymore and lost his sense of self confidence. He felt like an outcast and uncomfortable in the place children should feel safe and happy, their school. He ended up getting bad grades and failing his classes. An extensive study from a 2008 edition of an academic journal on computers and education looked at how laptops affected classroom behavior. “Results showed that students who used laptops in class spent considerable time multitasking and that laptop use posed a significant distraction to both users and fellow students”, this showed that the level of laptop use was negatively impacting students’ experience in the classroom. Students with laptops in class had lower grade results than student without laptops. They were often not paying attention to their instructor, as their attention was all focused on their laptop. The same or worse results can be expected from a cell phone in the classroom.

Cellphones are more easily accessible to students and many new phones make social media and other tools that are unnecessary in the classroom, the most appealing component to their new designs. Cell phones are catering more and more to the extreme popularity of social media and these are some of the tools that students are attracted to most. These are same tools that lead to students being distracted from the learning process in the classroom. More than 90% of children ages 12 to 17 years old use internet. Nearly three quarters of them spend the majority of their time on social networking sites, according to the study by the Pew research center. To prevent distraction, schools have decided to block all social networking sites. In this way students are not able to access Facebook and other forms of social media. With these sites blocked, school administrators hope that this will allow students to concentrate on finishing school work. In the computer lab at school, however, students found many different ways to access the blocked sites they loved to spend time on most. According to the article, “Students find ways to Thwart Facebook bans”, a dad was shocked when he found out that his son was able to access Facebook in school. When he asked the little boy, “How did you do it?” the boy replied to his father, “dad it’s pretty easy, don’t be an idiot, we know about computers more than teachers do.” Despite good intentions and high hopes regarding the potential for electronic devices to enhance learning for students, phones and all other electronic devices seem to be a distraction for our children. Clearly, eliminating technology from their life is impossible and will only become more difficult with increased access to technology in all aspects of life. Everything is centered on technology in our present time. Strict bans on cell phones or blocking social media sites from school laptops and computers may not be the best answer. With these types of restrictions, students are finding ways to circumvent the rules and accessing all things banned to them.

With many teenagers and young people, simply restricting something makes them more drawn to doing that exact banned activity. Rather than simply placing strict bans and then leaving students to come up with creative ways to break the rules, perhaps another method may be more practical in dealing with the current issues surrounding cell phones in the classroom. One high school teacher provided a potential solution. In a presentation on his ideas, he explained that with the inevitable increase of technology in the classroom and everywhere else we must teach our students how to properly deal with this ever present technology. He discussed that from now on we should spend more time on finding ways to instruct our children how and when to use all electronic devices, teaching them how to be responsible from a young age. Students like being allowed to make choices, and enjoy being treated like young adults. In order to be able to reap the benefits of technology students must be educated on the proper ways to use technology to their benefit. If children are not taught the proper way to deal with technology in their life, they will spend their entire lifetime over using the technology that will always play a role in their life. For example, kids will be more addicted to using their phones as they are growing up, and may even start texting while driving. Cellphones could be fabulous learning resources, at the same time they can lead to major distractions in the classroom and worse issues such as cheating during exams. The key is finding a proper balance to using technology in the classroom and critical instruction time by teachers. If a school has a strict ban on cellphones, that rule must be respected. All students must learn that rules are going to be simple part of their life in all that they do.

Despite how attached they may be to their phones outside of school, they must learn that their time in the classroom and their teacher must be respected. Students and their parents must understand that any policy put in place by a school is to enhance the learning experience of students, not as a punishment to the students. When bans are placed on cell phones, some parents complain that this makes it more difficult to stay in touch with their children or get a hold of them after school. Up until very recently, children never had cell phones and if there was ever an emergency at the school parents would be quickly notified. If a school does place a strict cell phone ban then school administrators are ensuring parents that they will be quickly contacted in case of any emergency and if the parent ever wants to get in contact with their child, they will surely be allowed to speak with them.

It is fundamental for parents and students to recognize that a ban on cellphones is in place to allow the students to perform at their peak in the classroom with one less distraction. Cell phones are an incredible tool and could become an even more integral part of classroom learning. However a
healthy balance must be found that would allow students to use their cell phone strictly for learning. Many forms of technology, like the Kindle and new television models, are programed to turn off after a child has spent a certain amount of time on the device. This type of control may help to allow for use of cell phones for educational purposes, with a way to manage time spent on the cell phone and ensure that the time used is for educational purposes only.

Cite this Students and cellphones

Students and cellphones. (2016, Oct 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/students-and-cellphones/

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