Cell Phones as a learning tool? I’m not quite convinced.

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After reading Lisa Nielsen’s post 5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class, I am still not quite convinced. While I understand they can be a great learning tool in every day life, I am not sure they have their place in the classroom quite yet.

Allowing students to use them in the classroom will certainly alienate students who can not afford or are not permitted to have a phone. While I’m sure they already feel left out not having one, having to explain to your teacher or pair up with someone who does have one will really highlight those students and can have a detrimental effect on their self esteem. Students in middle and high school already struggle trying to fit in, an expensive luxury like a cell phone should not be required for classroom activities.

I also think our students are already too plugged in. We know that most of the day they are tied to their cell phones and technology, why not force them to interact with the real world around them for a few hours at school? It’s great that we can look up everything up on our phone, but lets prepare our students for life if the power goes out or if they don’t have internet- gasp! Lets teach them about how useful a library is! Research from books is still a pretty useful skill. We need to remember how to function in the world unplugged.

Finally, reason number three where she says in response to the idea that students might use their phone to cheat, “My response is that tests that are so lacking in rigor that students can look up answers on a phone or get them from another student are lousy and outdated in a world where information is free and easy. ” Seriously? This made me laugh. We have to teach students the basics, and some of that is simply remembering facts. Yes kids can look up a map to see where the states are located, but its a pretty useful skill to understand where they live, or even where we are located in the world. Sure, its easy to look up who our founding fathers were but I’m pretty sure they earned our remembrance of them without the use of a cell phone. Teaching students will inevitably entail asking them questions they can easily find on the internet, that does not make the question any less important.

For these reasons, and I’m sure a bunch more, I’m definitely not sold on allowing students to use their cell phones in class.

no-cell-phone-sign

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2 thoughts on “Cell Phones as a learning tool? I’m not quite convinced.

  1. Jessica, I agree with your point about it still being important for students to learn information. I liked your example: “Yes kids can look up a map to see where the states are located, but its a pretty useful skill to understand where they live, or even where we are located in the world.” This is a good way to describe the value of learning information – even when information is readily accessible. Students will likely need to know and understand factual information before they can evaluate it, analyze it, make connections, or engage in higher order critical thinking.

  2. Hi Jess, I agree. I think that it alienates students who cannot afford cell phones. Which is simply not fair. Also, good point that we should encourage socialization during a few hours of the day. Maybe cell phones should be involved in classrooms, but not today.

    Great read.. as always. 🙂

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