Cell phones should be used, not refused

By Mike Guevarra

For quite some time now, cell phones have been stuck with a bad reputation in classrooms everywhere. The piece of technology many people cannot bear without is rebuked in schools.

Considered one of our generation’s most profound inventions is cast aside in classrooms for us to adore Gutenberg’s printing press. Teachers aren’t just disapproving the use of cell phones in their classrooms; in fact, they despise it.

To be able to snatch a student’s iPhone and furiously throw it out of their classroom’s window is an ability that’s only possible in a teacher’s dreams, so our disgruntled teachers decide to deal with cell phone use in one of few ways. These courses of action include telling the student to put their phone away, taking the phone away, and telling the student to put their cell phone away, but only after a lengthy shaming of the student in front of their peers during instruction. Seemingly, when one student gets caught with their cell phone out, everyone’s education and sanity gets chewed up by a quarter hour rant. This is hardly a productive use of time. We should be using this amazing device to supplement our learning, not inhibit it.

This is the dark box the educator has confined him or herself in since the dawn of the cellular phone’s creation and has anything good come out of these approaches to cell phone use in the classroom? There’s a frustrated teacher here, a resentful student there, and bad feelings everywhere. As the German scholar Max Müller once stated, “A flower cannot grow without sunshine.” Alike, a student cannot grow without respect and happiness in a classroom.

Let’s change the approach to cell phone use in the class room. This means to contemplate how the cell phone and its increasing advances can be an asset to the student’s learning ability. Cell phone innovation is advancing faster than ever in our world today. People should take hold of this opportunity and point it in the direction of education. The cell phone is perhaps one of society’s greatest tools because other miraculous inventions such as the Internet can be used through the mobile cell phone and people can furthermore use it to expand their learning.

According to AccuConference Blog, in 2012, 25 percent of Internet users are mobile. These users do not access the Internet for browsing from any other device aside from the one they carry with them. Another statistic showed also that in 2012, 71 percent of smart phone users that see TV, press or advertising that interests them will immediately do a mobile search. From these two statistics alone a case can be made that a cell phone is not just a simple communication tool. It’s a universal tool that can be used to further expand one’s knowledge.

There is an issue though: the way cell phone use is handled in the high school. When a teacher decides to shame a student in front of the entire classroom for a significant part of the class period, it takes away from all of the other students’ learning more so than the student who decided to take away from their own learning by using their phone for inappropriate purposes in the beginning. And more often than not, this cell phone use begins because of the dissatisfaction of a student with a teacher’s irrelevant lecture. To change this problem, teachers should step into the high school student’s shoes to see how they could learn in more entertaining and personally inspiring ways. Now, some opponents of cell phone use will say that its just too easy to play games and there is no way to regulate it besides banning them. While this is a good point, it has an easy fix. If a teacher allows you to use your device to gain an advantage, then there isn’t any reason to play games because you are actively engaged in something else.

I invite both educators and students of the world to take a different approach to the way we use our cell phones. Schools quickly saw the emerging power of the laptop, and now we have carts being rolled through every classroom. Why should cell phones be any different? We should learn how to integrate this powerful technology into our studies and learn to see the problems associated with cell phone use as potential opporunities.