If you have been following my writing, you have probably concluded that I am archaic. Even though I beg to disagree, I am here to further affirm your view.
Cell phones have no place in the classroom! She said it…Yup!
At first, I thought I would take a neutral stand on this debate topic but the more I think about it the more I am convinced that it has more negative effects in the classroom than the pros mentioned. Hence, I will share my point of view.
As a preschool teacher, a known rule in all the preschool settings I worked at is no phones in the classroom. Understandably so, being in a classroom filled with young children, it can be costly to get distracted even for a minute. There are a couple of times that I pick up my phone to do something but I end up doing something else maybe as a result of a notification I got or I am suddenly reminded of something else. My employers did make available a tablet or laptop to be used if needed. Those are not as distracting and there are no personal things there to be distracted with.
The classroom can be that time students get away from their cellphones, there is no legit reason whatsoever why students should have their cellphones with them while class is going on. I don’t see ways in which it promotes participation or collaboration that other devices with little to no distraction can afford. Cellphones pose a distraction for the teacher, the student and other students in the classroom. It also stiffens the ability to think without relying on technology. Why bother to think about anything when google has almost any answer they are looking for. It sure poses a threat to paying attention to understand things being taught in the classroom. No doubt, students can go home and rely on technology all they want but at least in the classroom space, they should be given the opportunity to do some self-thought, and think critically. Having a couple of laptops or tablets in the classroom gives room to less dependency on technological tools for learning. It also helps students to learn about collaboration, turn-taking, delayed gratification, being open to other people’s opinion and reaching a consensus.
One of the concerns raised on the opposing side is that the world is now unsafe, especially with the prevalent gun issues, and students need to be reachable. The counter-argument which was mentioned in the chat cited an example of an incidence where the police were called in for an emergency but could not function adequately because there were a lot of phones jamming the cellphone tower. It is rather unfortunate that we feel the need for our students/children to have a cellphone in case of an emergency but I acknowledge this concern. It was also mentioned that the size of a cellphone being small is an advantage as it will not take much space, easily using phone cameras to utilize videos and photo projects and so on. I do agree that these are valid points but not enough to ignore the more prevailing downsides to bringing cell phones to the classroom.
In the name of wanting to prepare students to fit into a digital world, we should not take away the essential part of being in the classroom from them. Kids always find their way around these gadgets; they are that intuitive.
I still feel that the distraction bit of this device in the classroom flaws the advantages. An already declining physical connection will only get worse as students will often have their heads buried in their phones rather than connect with people in the immediate environment. As a teacher, I am not convinced that cell phones should be encouraged in the classroom.