Education

Cellphones in Classrooms Sparks Debate

July 23, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Fans of cellphones as instructional tools see them as a natural way to engage students in lessons using some of the nifty applications for polling and Web searching that many of today’s devices allow. I’m pretty sure that’s what some of the guests of an edweek.org Webinar later today will be arguing.

But the naysayers also have some good points about how mobile devices can distract students in the classroom from the lessons at hand. This blog post on change.org has a discussion between college professors about their dismay over cellphone use in their classes, and some interesting comments from those with a different view. As a New York adjunct professor in philosophy writes:

My students read texts, discuss them, and consider philosophical problems; I do everything I can to make our activities stimulating, and I make use of technological aids when appropriate, but can't see how introducing more bells and whistles will bring anything more [to] this process. I can't consider their phones anything but a distraction.

Siobhan Curious, a Canadian academic and the blogger at Classroom as Microcosm who answers questions addressed to “Dear Siobhan,” agrees, to a point:

Some argue that in contemporary society, our students need to learn how to multitask effectively. I would argue just the opposite: that today's young people - and adults, for that matter, myself included - need to learn to STOP multitasking, and to focus on one task, with concentration, for an extended period of time.

Some commenters, however, are taking issue with that viewpoint. One asks why the profs want to trample on students’ rights, describing how his cellphone is his lifeline to information and primary method of taking notes in class.

It’s making for a great discussion on the blog, one that could just as easily apply to the high school, or even middle school, classroom as to higher ed. I recommend you take a look.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
When SEL Curriculum Is Not Enough: Integrating Social-Emotional Behavior Supports in MTSS
Help ensure the success of your SEL program with guidance for building capacity to support implementation at every tier of your MTSS.
Content provided by Illuminate Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Profession Webinar
Professional Wellness Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Live Your Best Life
Reduce educator burnout with research-affirmed daily routines and strategies that enhance achievement of educators and students alike. 
Content provided by Solution Tree
English-Language Learners Webinar The Science of Reading and Multilingual Learners: What Educators Need to Know
Join experts in reading science and multilingual literacy to discuss what the latest research means for multilingual learners in classrooms adopting a science of reading-based approach.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read