Should Cell Phones Be Allowed in School?

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Ilana Wittels Should cell phones be allowed in school? Cell phone technology has evolved at lightning speed in recent years. Features such as texting and internet access provide a lifeline between parents and their children, especially during school hours. They have opened up a whole new way of learning to students of all ages and capabilities. The positive effect it has had on the overall classroom environment cannot be discounted. Allowing cell phones on school premises will allow parents to keep in touch with their children and enhance students’ learning experience in the classroom. School districts around the country are slowly warming up to the idea that cell phones can be a viable learning tool. Using the internet access on their cell phones, high school students in Sioux Rapids, Iowa for example are using twitter-like technology, named backchannel, to participate in classroom discussions. Instead of being a distraction, the chatter feeds into the main discourse, which is monitored by the teacher and integrated into the classroom discussion. This allows students who rarely raise their hands or ask questions, to actively do so now, since they are comfortable with the medium chosen (Gabriel). It lends a voice to quiet children while shifting the focus off the more active ones away from potential mischief to joining in the discussion thru a format they perceive as ‘hip’. The methods for teaching students and special needs students are expanding. Special education students can benefit from educational applications geared to the visual and auditory learners. It can help them stay focused and engaged during class (Feraco). Classrooms need to keep up with technology, by integrating high quality material into the classroom experience, thus turning cell phones into learning devices. This in turn will make education available 24 hours a day (Conneally).

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