Although much of the public debate is against it, there are pros associated with allowing cell phones in school. These advantages should not be ignored since cell phones in schools can actually add value to the educational experience, rather than simply be a detriment to it.
Although you hope that you will never have to do this, you sometimes need to get in contact with your school-aged child while they are in class. This could be because of a death in the family, an accident or other family emergency that may require his or her attention or attendance.
By being able to call your child directly, you also help alleviate the workload of the school's administrative team. Phones are also particularly useful during recess and lunch hours when students aren't in class and may be difficult to find. The problems with knowing where your children are after school could also be reduced if parents had the ability to call them and vice versa. Text messages can make communicating easy and discreet.
Students who have a smartphone can use various applications designed for students to assist in learning. Many of these smartphones have programs that are similar to what is found on a laptop or desktop computer. Being able to look up facts quickly on the internet is possible on many phones.
If a student needs assistance with classwork and does not have access to a computer, a smartphone can be used in a snap. In fact, the National Education Association reports that cell phones can often be cost effective for schools that cannot afford to purchase technology for all students.
Studies show that cell phones can be beneficial to students when reviewing and studying for exams or tests. Most cell phones have a camera these days, so children can use these to take pictures in class. This is great for science class, for example, where they may be exposed to certain creatures, plants and other things that they probably won't encounter anywhere else. This is much more effective that simply producing a quick sketch.
Pictures can also be useful to photograph an assignment, a whiteboard or a step-by-step process, so that they can later review the photos to better understand the procedure in metalwork, woodwork or other hands-on courses.
Nearly every mobile phone has a built-in calendar function and this can be very useful for kids who have a hard time remembering test dates, assignment due dates and other such details where time is of the essence. By putting these in a cell phone organizer and assigning an alarm, they'll never forget again! After all, paper-based agendas and notebooks can be easily lost, forgotten, overlooked or scribbled over.
The voice recording feature of cell phones can be beneficial to students who would like a quick way to keep track of what they need to do. After all, students may not always have immediate access to a notepad, so using a cell phone to "jot down" important information can be helpful. There are numerous voice memo apps that can be useful for both teachers and students in a classroom.
GPS tracking can be a benefit of cell phones to parents who want to be able to keep tabs on their children's whereabouts. Use GPS to track a cell phone can provide peace of mind to concerned parents and teachers if a student is reported missing or has gone somewhere of concern. GPS tracking can also inform parents that their children have arrived to and from school safely.
Store Emergency Contact Information
Important phone numbers can be easily stored in cell phones. For students, this can be important in case they become sick while at school or are in an emergency situation. Their cell phone can contain important numbers such as their parent's work, doctor's office, dentist, and who to call in case of an emergency, as well as numbers of close family members and friends.
Cell phones can assist in providing a modern alternative to standard teaching and can encourage student participation. For example, the website platform Poll Everywhere permits teachers to create poll questions to which students can respond via their cell phones. Students can also use cell phones to collaborate with each other and also to connect with children in other schools or geographic areas. They can also connect students to specialists in specific subjects for assistance or advice.
Cell phones have unquestionably become fixtures in everyday life for most adults. In fact, Pearson Education found that 82% of high school students use mobile devices regularly. Cell phones will not only be a part of their everyday lives now and in the future, but will also be important in many careers. Knowing how to use mobile devices effectively is an important skill to have in modern society. Incorporating mobile technology in the classroom is key to preparing your students for the future.
Classroom Research Tool
Smartphones are equipped with calculators, a plethora of apps, the internet, and researching tools. Showing students how to use their cellphones to seek out information and educate themselves is a great lesson to promote. Research suggests that students are using social networks to find answers to questions that they don't understand or know. If students and teachers collaborate and collectively seek out concepts that are confusing, using cell phones to do so can be an incredibly powerful tool that expands teacher's lesson plans for the better.
Promotes Student Independence
Enabling students to use their phones in the classroom inherently develops trust between the students and their teacher. Although phones can cause distraction, creating highly engaging lesson plans where the students are actively using their phones to find answers can be a great way to promote healthy cell phone usage for the purpose of learning.
Fosters Trust Between Students and Teachers
Teachers that allow students to use their cellphones in class must be able to trust that their students are participating appropriately. To do so, it's important to introduce engaging content, and monitor cell phone usage. This creates a great opportunity for teachers to model healthy cell phone usage for their students. This means that the teacher and students work together while using their cell phones during the lesson plan and disengage from using their phones when not appropriate.
Creates More Inclusive Learning Environment
For students who learn and/or communicate differently, using their cell phone as a learning and communicating aid can make a world of difference. Allowing cell phones in the classroom opens up the door for many students who are differently abled to be able to participate and thrive in the classroom setting, where they would otherwise have difficulty.
Remember to Weigh Both Sides
Students bringing a phone to school has both positive and negative consequences. Many schools have set rules in place regarding cell phones and whether they are permitted in the school or classroom. Parents can decide whether their child should bring a phone to school - as long as it is not against the rules - and set appropriate guidelines regarding the use of the phone.