I found an interesting article on twitter called “Cellphones are a Distraction” by Tom Whitby.
The article is about the contentious cellphone policies that schools are facing today. Whitby talks about distractions: the PA system blaring announcements, the fire drill, the blood drive, the field trip, etc. His argument: teachers and students learn to deal with distractions everyday. Why would it be so bad for students to use their cellphones in class? Smartphones are essentially mini computers and can enhance the students learning. There are innumerable apps on smartphones that can be valuable to students’ understanding. Whitby says that this cellphone debate is about control and educators/administrators need to catch up with technology, recognize the benefit, and teach students how to effectively use it.
I agree with Whitby as I feel that smartphones could be useful, however, the problem is not everyone has a smartphone. Smartphones are expensive and by allowing them in school as a tool, many of our low-socio-econmic-status students would be left behind.
In addition, it would be difficult to quiz twenty students who have the answers in their pockets. I have many students who can text without looking and a few who has mastered texting inconspicuously within a pocket or even a boot.