Do Cellphones Have a Place in the Classroom?

Oct 2, 2012 10:35:01Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO


Do Cellphones Have a Place in the Classroom?

With the increase in the number of young people who use mobile devices, a debate has sparked among teachers, parents and students - should cellphones be allowed in the classroom? While some argue that mobile technologies are a distraction and can only cause trouble in an educational setting, others say that smartphones and mobile devices can be used as learning tools to help students expand their minds both inside and outside the classroom.

Recently, schools in Columbus, Ohio, weighed in on the debate by relaxing guidelines to allow students to charge their mobile devices during lunch, recess, or even class time if the teacher gives permission, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

Educational institutions in the area have also created wireless networks accessible to students, and some schools are even going so far as to actively encourage kids to bring their smartphones and other wireless gadgets to class.

"The easiest technology to use is the one we have familiarity with," Jon Stonebraker, the technology coordinator for the Columbus district, told the news outlet. "When we're familiar with it, then it allows us to be more effective workers."

The new policies may even help schools save money, as students will be able to use their own gadgets rather than those offered and paid for by the school. Others argue that the new rules make sense, because students will use their wireless technology, even if bans are in place - they'll just do so covertly.

Still, there are issues that arise for students who use technology as a learning tool. Often, students will be required to work in groups, which could mean they'll be sharing laptops, cellphones, or tablets during class. Sharing a mobile device that contains personal information makes protecting online privacy more of a challenge.

TeachingToday.com looks at some of the issues teachers who allow cellphones during class time may face. While the primary use of mobile devices during school should be for educational purposes, students are likely to use them for social purposes, and possibly even to cheat on tests. Teachers should have a stern conversation with their students about the appropriate uses of mobile devices in the classroom.

Parents who want to encourage their children to be safe when using their personal technology at school can find ways to help their kids keep private data from wandering eyes. Adding a second phone number to a teen's device which he or she can use exclusively for school could help prevent security issues that could stem from in-school cellphone usage.