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Every teacher has at least one student in their class who is always on their cellular phone, regardless of the classroom rules. Should students be permitted to use their phones within the learning environment? Personally, I believe that phones are harmful devices that have a negative impact on the children and should not be allowed in the classroom.
Technology can be a very useful tool in the learning environment. To begin, students can use their cell phones to stay organized by using the agenda and note applications. They can input their test and assignment dates, make notes and set reminders directly into the device that they carry everywhere. Also, students claim that listening to music while doing work improves their focus, assisting them in their learning. Finally, students often prefer to keep their phones on their person as they feel anxious about leaving them in their lockers, or having them collected by teachers at the beginning of class, fearful that they could be lost or stolen.
However, phones in the classroom result in more problems than benefits. Firstly, when students use their cell phones as agendas, it is very easy for them to become sidetracked. Since the students at St. James are fortunate enough to receive a physical agenda at the beginning of each year at no cost, there is no reason to risk this unnecessary distraction. Also, listening to music actually distracts students from thoughtful work. There is always a periodic need to change the song or pause the music, resulting in students spending more time on their phones and less time on their work. Finally, during emergencies such as tornado drills or lockdowns, phones can actually represent a significant safety risk. Instead of focusing on the instructions and procedures provided by the teacher, students might start communicating with friends using their phones. Worst of all, if a phone were to make noise during a lockdown, the results could be tragic.
Most significantly, the constant notifications from social media and texting represent an irresistible distraction to students. Within a seventy-five minute class, a student could potentially receive hundreds of social media notifications from their peers. If students then respond to any number of these texts, tweets or snapchats, this could result in perpetuating distractions throughout high school. Students will feel pressured to answer texts, causing them to be on their phones, distracting them from their school work. In addition, social media applications such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter can result in cyber bullying which is not only distracting but hurtful. The risk of having cellular devices in the classroom goes beyond simply distracting students from their academic work, but can actually be harmful to their well-being.
Though technology can be a valuable learning tool in the classroom, cellular phones do not represent a good choice. With their built-in applications as well as social media, cell phones represent a source of unlimited distractions which is why I leave my phone in my locker or put it in the phone bucket at the beginning of class. Remember, not having a phone in the classroom allows for a focused learning experience and fewer distractions for everyone.
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