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Many teachers believe that a smartphone is nothing but a distraction tool. As many people think that it is true, there is also the idea that a smartphone could be the biggest learning tool in our century. January 9th, 2007 was when the first IPhone came out, which to this day have around 94 million users. Since then, we’ve gone from fuzzy cameras, slide phones, to the high technology smart phones, that are now a huge part of lives. A phone is the source to send that quick text to your mom to tell her that your sports practice was cancelled, to text your friend to catch up on the latest season of your favorite TV series, but most importantly, to use that quick calculator, or even send that email to your English teacher to ask her when your homework is due. Technology today has escalated to something huge, giving you so many different options for our smartphones, but can all this technology be distracting, or does it help with teens’ education?
We have described many useful learning tools in our detailed article on distance learning for students. Most teachers could all agree that most smartphones are pretty distracting, especially when they are trying to teach a lesson only to look up and see half the class on their phones, but one plus side to having a class that are full of smartphone users, is that it’s easy access to be able to send out emails to your students reminding them to finish their homework, and being able to connect with them if they are confused and at home. A smartphone has the ability to send emails, which could help if you are confused with your homework. Another thing a smartphone has the ability to download apps, like Remind, or even download a PDF to read the textbook you need for a class. Google has great apps such as “classroom”, or even “Google docs” that can help get updates on your class if you have projects coming up, and give you word documents to type on. Because Freeman is in a spot where not everyone gets the best service, a lot of people connect to the Wi-Fi to be able to get service out here, so most connect to the schools Wi-Fi. And with that, our technology department has all social media & un-school related websites blocked, and only educational purposes can be used while on the internet. Even in emergency situations, like a lockdown, a fire in the school, or even a school shooting, it is easier if a student has a phone to get ahold of their guardians. With this, you will be able to get on all of the educational purposes that you will possibly need without having the distractions of sending a Snapchat, or checking Instagram really quick.
Another reason cell phones could be used as an educational tool is because it is an easy access to look up a quick definition to a word you don't know, it is much easier to be able to pull out your phone, look up a definition, and then quickly write it down. It’s also much easier, especially if you are in a foreign language class, to be able to use a translation website to help you. This is much easier than logging onto a computer, waiting for it to load, and then only to use the computer for a matter of 5 minutes, it is definitely a time saver! According to a study done by the University of Michigan it studied that 71% of students sent or received texts on their phones in class, then the school banned the phones and found a shocking 65% still got on their phones. When people normally don't understand something, they usually look it up to understand more of what it is, and a cell phone is a great tool to use to look something up really quick. Today, with all the technology that we have, smartphones are really like mini computers! They can look up information, they can send emails back and forth, & they even have word documents to type things on your phone! Most smartphones have application stores to get apps that can help you with your education.
There are apps like “Google docs” or even “Google classroom”. Google classroom can be a big help to remind you that your essays are due, or to bring something that you are going to need for class. Even though there are many pluses to having a smartphone as an educational tool, there are also some negative aspects. Some people would argue that just because the school has Wi-Fi that blocks all social media, students still have data to use to get on the social media websites. And with the student checking their phone to see if they have notifications it could be a distraction, and possibly all they are thinking about. Also, not only can social media be distracting, but with all the music apps today, kids don't care and will have their headphones in if they’d like.
Another distraction to a classroom full of kids, is when students are on their phone and the teacher has to stop his or her lesson to tell the kid to get off their phone, and then have to go back to their learning. This is not only a distraction to the student on their phone, but to the rest of the students that are trying to pay attention.
Overall, cell phones are huge educational tools, and can help with many classes, but if used the wrong way can be potentially very distracting and annoying. I think that education systems should allow cell phones for educational purposes and to save that little bit of extra time from having to wait for the desktops to load.
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