In ED 620 we have learned about lots of great technology tools to use in the classroom. One that has not been discussed in any technology course I have taken is the use of cell phones in the classroom. All of the tools we learned about could be accessed on cell phones for interactive lessons, such as posting to Twitter while in class. Still, after reading several articles I am torn about whether or not cell phones have a place in the K-12 classroom.
There are many things to consider. The pros and cons of cell phones in the classroom are endless. From emergency notifications to vocabulary practice. I find it hard to determine whether or not they would be more of a distraction than a positive addition.
In a NY Times article, they gave several ideas for discussing the possibilities of cell phones in school with students. I have discussed it with my students in the past, but kids tend to lean towards unlimited freedoms regardless of the impact to their education. Let’s face it, they would much rather text than learn grammar (and who can blame them?).
I think it would be very similar to one-to-one computing. I have found that seventh grade students lack the ability to self-regulate, and often find them playing games when they should be listening. Despite the benefits of the computers in the classroom, I often have to ask that they be closed until we are ready to work in order to keep students focused. As adults we have trouble focusing ourselves. I don’t know how many conferences I have been to where adults text the entire time, rather than staying focused on the speaker or information at hand.
Still, fighting cell phone use in the classroom is a never-ending battle. I could see allowing them in study halls, but I think the digital divide still plays a key role in this argument. While they could be used educationally, that still does not change the fact that not all students can afford them. With budgets continuing to be cut, I can’t see districts buying iPhones for all of their students.
In the end, I think I fall somewhere in the middle on this argument. I don’t mind if students use cell phones during downtime, but I feel that they would take away from the learning environment more than they would be a benefit during class time.