The cell phone was invented in 1973, and this device has changed society. In 2017, phones are like mini-computers. Using apps, browsing the Web, texting, and using social media are all popular aspects of today’s cell phones. Is this incredible technology good or bad in the classroom?
In classes today, many kids are able to have their cell phones and sometimes are distracted by them. Often times, schools have a no cell phone policy, but it varies. Whether cell phones help or hurt education appears to be a debate. Justin Newton (`17) said, “Cell phones are a convenience, along with computers, and are not necessary, but not a hinder to learning.”
Mr. Richard Grejtak, Instructor in Latin, said, “Cellphones can be a source of distraction if the teacher does not monitor their use.”
According to Grejtak, cellphones can hinder education. Using a cell phone in class can be like texting while driving. Grejtak believes when drivers text while on the road, they obviously risk crashing. However, Grejtak does not believe that cell phones should be similarly excluded from the classroom. He thinks cell phones are very important and should only be used at the teacher’s discretion.
Pros and cons exist for having cellphones in class. Phones allow for a “peace of mind” because parents can feel safer knowing their kids can contact them quickly in case of emergencies. Cell phones in the classroom allow for instant answers and a social environment. All of this can be beneficial, however, cell phones are not necessary in class because anything on a phone can be accessed from a computer.
Students use their phones for texting, Snapchat, Instagram and other social networks. Jake Colosanti (`18) said that cellphones can be a distraction in class. Ms. Diana Braun, Instructor in Mathematics, said, “Cell phones are a distraction because instead of being an active learner and paying attention to the teacher, students are being pulled away and on their phones.”
According to Rust College, “Students that learn to take notes do a better job of listening while in class. Have you ever left class without a clue of what was covered during class? It may be because you were not listening. Our mind can be a great tool or it can distract us from the things going on around us.”
When using phones while learning, it is possible for students to become distracted and not take in all the knowledge being taught in class. Checking social media, texting family and friends, using email, and surfing the Net can divide a student’s attention. Also, some teachers fear that when students take pictures of displays rather than writing down notes, note-taking skills are not being strengthened. On the other hand, some students argue that taking pictures of displays to study later saves class time and guarantees accuracy of content.
Mr. Jon Wanders, Director of the Upper School, referred to cell phones as a tool. Since Gilmour allows cell phones in the classrooms, he said, “I think it is important we make sure we treat phones and technology with the attention that is appropriate. It is all about having good personal habits, because phones are almost like a leash, and they are given too much power. It all depends on the willpower and awareness of the person using the phone to determine whether or not cell phones are a distraction to education.”