As technology keeps on advancing, cell phones have almost become essential gadgets of our lives, it is next to impossible to leave without these cell phones, because they make communication easy. Students have also found a great use of cell phones and most of them go with their cell phones to school. Cell phones are not bad or harmful as some educators can think, but the problem is that some students use them for wrong reasons and this makes them bad in school. Since most cell phones now days can access internet, students tend to use them for selfish entertaining reasons while in the classroom, this creates distraction and it also affects that students’ grades.
Students are the top most users of social networks like Facebook, Zynga , Twitter, YouTube and many more, all these social networks have mobile phone applications which can enable user of a cell phone to easily access them. So when ever students get a chance to come with their cell phones at school, they end up using them for personal entertainment during classroom hours. This behavior has forced many educators and parents to ban cell phone usage in schools. Below i have listed detailed points on the pros and cons of cell phones in schools
PROS OF CELL PHONES IN SCHOOLS:
- Easy communications: Both parents and teachers will need to stay in touch with their children and students, so cell phones will make this communication simple. Also students use cell phones to join peer to peer discussions which can help them ask any thing educational during this discussion. This discussion can be hosted on online educational social networks like Piazza.com, this network has mobile phones apps which a student can install and join any academic discussion using their mobile phones. In most cases, shy students find such remote platforms useful, because they can stay anonymous and ask a question, as opposed in a live classroom where they will fear to raise their hand to ask a question or help from the teacher or their fellow students. Teachers can also use text messaging service to send simple assignments to their students while at home. Parents can easily keep track of their children using cell phones, so in case some thing pops up during school hours, the child will just contact their parents.
- Safety Reasons: Since cell phones are light and easy to carry, they can act as emergence contact tools for students. Disasters are unavoidable and they always distrust our daily activities. It is very important if a student has a personal phone to use and contact their parents, head teachers or police in case some thing wrong happens. Many times students get mixed up in wrong groups while at school and they get bullied or get involved in wrong acts like drug use. These two harmful behaviors have resulted into deaths on many students, but when a student has a cell phone, they can call for help from their parents, friends, teachers or the police. Child bulling is on the rise in many schools, shy students can’t fight back, so they need to have a cell phone with them, so that they can call for help at any time.
- Mobile Learning: It is very important for students to be in position to learn from anywhere at any time. The education world is changing and many scholars are attending virtual classrooms. Online education is now becoming so popular than before, mobile phones have also helped in the growth of M-Learning. Unlike a computer, cell phones are light and easy to carry. Advanced cell phones like the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, have wide screens which can display data in high resolution and they also have big storage hardware which can be used to store electronic books. Services like Dropbox.com and Box.com can be used to store academic notes remotely and students can access this data anywhere. Mobile learning applications like Piazza.com can allow teachers create virtual classroom and assign course work to their students.
- Use cell phones as research tools: Students who do subjects which require field work research will need cell phones while in the field. All modern cell phones can be used to take pictures in the field, create reports using simple word processing applications, save and submit data back to their schools. If their school has a remote storage facility, students can easily back up their field work notes, videos and picture on that server while in the field. Most mobile phone service providers offer cheap internet subscription packages, so students will find it easy to transfer data or make more extensive research online using their cell phone.
- Improve relationship between teachers and students: Since teachers can easily text their students course work, also students can easily ask their teachers questions using text messaging services . During this discussion, both teachers and students get to know each other deeply. The teacher will get to know the weakness of their student because text massaging on cell phones is more personal and private. A student will feel free when communicating with their teachers via text messaging and the teacher will have a great chance of helping their students on a personal basis using a media familiar and comfortable to their student.
CONS OF CELL PHONES IN SCHOOL:
- Distraction: Since today’s cell phones have more than one application, students will always get distracted in the quest of trying to discover and try out new cell phone applications. Female students are more likely to get distracted by mobile applications like Pinterest.com, Facebook or twitter, then for the male students, they can get distracted by cell phone game applications or video streaming applications. This continuous distraction will affect a student’s concentration in the classroom, and it can also distract other students around them. At the end of the term these students will fail their exams because during classroom hours they where playing games or watching youtube.com videos.
- Cheating of exams: Since student X was watching videos during classroom hours, when it comes to exam time, they will resort to cheating. So they can decide to scan their notes on their cell phones or use text messaging service to cheat exams. Then some students can Google exam questions and copy whatever they find online, and in most cases this data published online is not correct which results into exam failure.
According to my view, cell phones are more helpful to students. The two major cons ‘’Distraction & Cheating of exams ‘’ can be controlled with strict guidelines on how and when to use cell phones in schools. Educators should not ban cell phones in schools, but they have to teach students on how to use cell phones to improve their grades, teachers can create some phone text based quizzes to ensure that students are always alert at all time in the classroom. A cell phone as a gadget is not bad, so we just have to find better ways of using it.