|What’s your stance on smartphones in the classroom? Each school and learning institution will have its own rules and policies, with some deeming them a distraction and others believing they’re a potentially useful learning aid. A new survey by TES has highlighted the extent of the division among teachers on this particular issue. Exactly half of teachers and school leaders were found to believe pupils should be banned from bringing smartphones into school. But that means there’s another 50% who believe they do have a place in the classroom. So let’s say you decide to allow smartphones on the school premises. Is there a case for letting kids hang on to their gadgets and use smartphones as learning tools?
Smartphone separation might trigger anxiety
This is the view of researchers from Singapore Management University, after a study revealed long periods of smartphone separation can induce even greater desire among children to use their device, as well as poor cognitive regulation and emotional problems. In other words, they’re so addicted to their devices that a total separation could cause stress and anxiety strong enough to negatively impact learning.
Schools can’t afford all the technology they need
Schools will routinely invest in items like mouse mats, headphones or speakers as well as USB memory sticks, but replacing IT infrastructure on a larger scale can be tricky for some. But as Peter Twining, Professor of the Future of Education at the Open University, points out, it would be ‘bonkers not to take advantage of the fact that young people have this technology in their pockets that they could use for educational purposes.’
Tech can be more up to date than textbooks
While printed books are invaluable to learning, sometimes a lesson might be based around an event that is currently unfolding, and as good as textbooks are, they can’t respond instantly to the latest developments in the way the internet can. Smartphones could therefore be used by students to help identify certain facts and figures that haven’t been committed to print just yet. And all sorts of apps could be used by students to complete tasks set by teachers, from finding information to measuring environmental conditions.
Children are growing up with technology
Love it or loathe it, the fact is kids are growing up knowing how to use smartphones and tablets from day one. Incorporating them into lessons teaches children how to use them productively, rather than just to idle away time on social media. All sorts of skills and interests could therefore be developed that might help them in later life, from capturing and interpreting data to editing photos and videos.
Of course, those who don’t advocate smartphones in the classroom will have valid reasons for holding this view. But some might see embracing them as a good way to get some measure of control over their usage, as they aren’t going to go away any time soon!
Teachers split over banning smartphones in school TES
Banning smartphones from classrooms could damage education, warn researchersThe Telegraph
Let the kids use their phones in class The Guardian
Can a smartphone be a tool for learning? BBC News