Teachers Should Use Phones as Educational Tools in Their Classrooms
By Shobha Persaud, Senior Writer
Hillcrest students are not allowed to bring in cell phones. In fact, cell phones are seen by teachers and security as a headache in the building. Many teachers struggle with students who fool around on their phones and assume that all cell phones must be eliminated from the school.
Well, my cellphone has helped me through urgent school situations when a computer was not available. I was on the bus one day and I forgot to complete my Castle Learning homework -- luckily I had my cellphone and was able to visit the Castle Learning mobile website to finish my assignment and maintain my 100% homework routine. Regardless of a school’s cell phone policy, the actuality is that many students have a cell phone on them, so why not make it constructive and let them take it out and put it to good use? Cell phones can be considered an educational tool because they consist of numerous educational applications that enables one’s growth in knowledge.
Going to to school is a daily routine. Well, using technology is a daily routine for most students and people general. Adults, let alone students, scroll through their cell phones as soon as they wake up. An IDC Research Report from 2013 states that 79% of Smartphone owners have it with them 22 hours of the day and that 80% of all Smartphone owners look at it within 15 minutes of waking up. This proves how powerful cell phones are to everyone, not just teenagers. Let's face it, times are changing and eventually cell phones will become more advanced than we can ever imagine.
As a student, I believe that cellphones are educational because I use my cellphone everyday to assist me with my homework. My cell phone comes in handy when I need to look up the definition of a word or even to check my email for important school updates. Technology is advancing regularly leaving cell phones with new educational features. Blogger, Meg Ormiston, think its time for teachers to expand their horizons on how cell phones can be used to enhance student learning. “A reason to really rethink the cell phone debate is because learning can go beyond the walls of the school or the confines of a class period.”
She is correct because cell phones are capable of performing many tasks that a computer can perform and more. Some applications that are available on a cell phone are not obtainable on a computer. For instance, there are various math apps to help children enhance their math skills. For many students, math isn’t an easy subject, so why not let students use all the help that’s available to them? Apps such as “Brain Tuner”, “iFormulas” and “Intro to Math” can have a great impact on children’s math scores. Sophomore Harshini Rampersaud says, “I think cellphones can definitely be used as an educational tool.”
Hillcrest High School is participating in a national Computer Science initiative in December called “Hour of Code” which enables students to learn to code on cell phones and other electronic devices. The “Hour of Code” strives to persuade students to acquire a future career in Computer Science. Ms. Baxter, Director of the iZone SLC at Hillcrest High School, stated, “Cell phones play a huge part in this process because students need handheld devices such as cell phones to complete this task. This allows students to create their own apps, share, and interact with each other.” Cell phones can help students prepare for their SAT months before by using the application "SAT:Word of the Day" which provides students with a new SAT word on a daily basis. Other word games such as "Words with Friends" or “Scrabble" enable students to partake in fun competitions while also building their vocabulary. According to a Research Study from the University of Calgary, people who play games like “Words with Friends” or “Scrabble” show better word recognition skills than those who aren’t players.
Google Drive is another common application used by many students to write essays, create powerpoints, or videos. This application is available on a computer as well but many prefer to go mobile. Google Drive is a free app on your phone and is easily available for students who may not have a working computer at home.“IBook” and “Google Play Books” allow students to download books and read them right on their cellphones. Some schools allow students to take in Ipads because they have books on them. If that is the case, it’s basically the same concept so teachers can just let students use their cellphones to complete these tasks.
The accessibility of mobile apps, as well as the Internet at their fingertips, can allow students and teachers to communicate with each other and collaborate on projects. Applications, such as "Dropbox", which are also connected on the computer, allows students and teachers to interact and share files in class as well as outside of the classroom. I believe of cell phones are educational tools because they include everything a student needs -- a notepad, a dictionary, a calculator and so much more, all in one little device. Many teachers will resent considering cell phones as educational tools because they see it as too great a distraction. Well, a solution to that would be to treat cell phone use like talking -- inappropriate cell phone use results in points being taken off of your grade. Or, build structures in your lesson plans so that students have the opportunity to use the phone for meaningful purposes.
Having a cellphone is like having all the information in world right in your hands which is very beneficial to teachers because they wouldn’t have to answer a plethora of questions from students when they can simply ask students to Google any questions they have. Cell Phones will teach students to be independent and find things on their own.Surfing the Internet will provide students with an unlimited amount of information for research papers and homework help. If there's something a student doesn't understand, there's a higher chance that it can be explained on the Internet. Fast and convenient, cell phones are the answer.
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