The use of smartphones in the classroom is currently among the most highly-debated issues plaguing public schools today.While some schools have banned their use entirely in order to decrease disruptive interruptions and distractions, others have supported the use of smartphones as a technology tool to enhance student learning and engagement.
On July 30, 2018, France passed a bill banning all forms of cell phone use in the classroom, leaving many American students to wonder if a widespread ban might ever take place in the United States. Currently, approximately 24% of U.S. schools have implemented some kind of ban on cell phones, and there are a myriad of reasons for doing so. First and foremost, cell phones have become a leading source of distraction for students tempted to check social media, play games, and text friends. Even more troubling, however, is their potential to increase cyberbullying as well exposure to sexual predators. Additionally, the EPA is now concerned that there could be detrimental health effects caused by overexposure to computer screens and wireless devices such as computer vision syndrome and certain cancers.
Despite the negative effects of cell phone use in the classroom, many insist that smartphones in the classroom offer far more advantages than disadvantages. There are numerous ways for cell phones to be used properly in the classroom and for the student’s benefit. For example, smartphones offer fast, efficient means of accessing information. Additionally, teachers can have students download educational learning apps to help with homework, develop better study habits, and gain better organizational skills. Lastly, cell phones in class can give parents peace of mind. For example, the parents would know that they would be able to contact their student if an emergency were to arise, and cell phones contain GPS devices that can be tracked if necessary.
Overall, teachers should allow the use of cellular devices in class, but within reason. For example, the student should not be allowed to watch anything unrelated to the class, text friends, play games unrelated to the subject, or use social media platforms. Furthermore, students should always be able to have their phones on their person in case of an emergency or accident. Students can also access and submit any form of digital work in an instant with educational apps and platforms, and they can even receive reminders so that they do not forget to complete homework and projects. The pros far outweigh the cons. Phones aren’t something to be blocked, they’re something to be incorporated meaningfully.