When I talk with educators about the possibility of finding ways to use cell phones in school, I hear a lot of different responses. Some educators are all for it while others don’t want to see a cell phone anywhere near their classroom. The reasoning they give for not wanting it around is that the student will get side tracked with their phone and miss out on a lot of great information. I get it. It is a challenge. But is it the cell phone that’s the problem or is it something else?
The truth is, the cell phone isn’t the problem, it is simply a device, a tool. So, if the cell phone isn’t the problem, what is? It is a behavioral problem and it really isn’t anything new. The argument against cell phones is that if students are on their phone then they aren’t paying attention. Let’s be real… students have not been paying attention in class for as long as I can remember. I think I might have even been one of those students at one point in time.
Would you believe me if I told you that you use to “text” in class? We all did. We just called them “notes” and we had to do it with pen and paper. The only difference between what we use to do and what students do today is that they live in a digital age and everything they do is done with technology.
Educators, we must start looking at the inappropriate use of the cell phone, like we look at any other disruptive behavior. It is no different than a student talking in class, sleeping in class or being disruptive in class, it is the behavior that we need to learn to manage.
If a student talks in class, what do you do? If they sleep in class, what do you do? If they are disruptive, what do you do? The same applies to using technology inappropriately. Have a policy that mandates what you do if the behavior is inappropriate and follow that policy.
Cell phones aren’t a fad that is going to go out of style in the near future. They are going to keep getting smarter and students and society are going to continue to grow more and more attached to them.