Twenty years ago, cell phones were not something everyone had, especially teenagers. The most you could even do with them was dial a number. Nowadays it is rare to come across someone that does not have one. You can do just about anything on them from texting to listening to music. As a result, cell phones in the classroom could be extremely useful or a huge distraction.
The big advantage of using cell phones is that they are convenient when it comes to needing information efficiently and quickly. If there is a word or concept a student doesn’t understand, they can find the information in an instant. There are also numerous apps that can be helpful for students to study or to help them better understand something.
On the downside, there are still various bad repercussions of having a cell phone in a learning environment. It is reported that “50% of children feel addicted to their cell phones,” according to Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that promotes safe technology and media for children. Teens feel the need to check their messages, social networks, and other notifications immediately. Teens also switch back and forth between screens which makes it hard to focus on one thing at a time.
It has been proven by many, including, the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, that we have reduced working memory capacity when our phone is upside down on our desk, compared to when it is in another room.
Regardless of any ban, school students will continue to learn with their own phones when they are home, in future schooling, and in their workplace. It’s important to teach children to live in the era where they are growing up. A good education for students today is knowing how to use technology to learn, communicate, and work with ideas. Phones are becoming more advanced everyday, why not take advantage of it?
Personally, I believe phones should be allowed in school because they provide great educational use. Using phones could also save paper by taking notes online or going on websites for activities. With the pandemic right now, not all schools can afford a laptop for everyone. Using your own individual phone would help so that we are not passing laptops around and spreading germs. In case of emergencies, having your phone would also allow students to contact family in case of emergency.
There is not an easy way to answer the question of whether cell phones should be used in school. They can be used as a learning tool in the classroom, but this only works as long as students choose to use them correctly by getting on the apps provided, following directions, and being responsible with them.