Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Should Students Be Allowed To Use Cell Phones In Schools?

As an educator, one of the trends I have noticed in recent years is the increased use of cell phones in schools. As phones are becoming more popular and have more features, students are tempted to use them during class, even when they are not permitted. Some schools, including my own, have changed their policy to allow students to use their phones during certain times of the day and in certain areas. They can use their phones pretty much any time they are not in class, or in a restricted area such as a bathroom or a locker room.

This might be ok, but then kids get into the habit of using their phones so often it leads to them to using phones in class when they are suppose to be paying attention to the teacher and doing their work. Some people argue that phones can be used as a learning tool, and this is a possibility, but from my experience, cell phones serve as much more of a distraction than anything else.

Students are constantly checking their phones to send and receive text messages, browse social networking sites, play games, and listen to music. In years prior, when this distraction wasn't available, kids would be more focused on their work just because there was nothing else to do. Now, a good portion of time is spent on their phone and not on their work.

Teachers try to enforce the rule of no cell phones in class, but it is difficult. When you are teaching a lesson or working with a student, it is easy for another student to slip their phone out of their pocket and read or send a message without being noticed. Teachers have to be very strict and have authority to confiscate phones if they are used, otherwise, the students will keep using them in class.

Phones as a distraction are not the only issue. The cameras and video recording capability also provide the opportunity for students to take pictures or record people without their permission and then share the images with others or post them on the internet. The ease of communication between students also enables cheating either by sharing answers or by looking them up on the internet. Because of reasons such as these, it is not a good idea to allow students to use phones in class.

This is a controversial issue that has supporters both for and against cell phone usage in schools. What do you think? Should students be allowed to use phones in school? Are there any students who agree that cell phones are a distraction in class? Are their any teachers who think students should be able to use their phones in class whenever they please?

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