Technology in Schools: The Pro’s & Con’s

As a 22-year-old college student looking  back on my middle school days, I vividly remember hiding my cell phone behind my pencil pouch on my desk in order to text my friends back. Nine out of ten times I would get caught and have to hand over my red EnV2 to my teacher and pick it back up at the end of the day. That was 10 years ago. Now, there are Apps that can be downloaded on smart phones that can help students complete their homework.

From the moment they were introduced, teachers attached a negative connotation to cell phones by banning them in school settings. While their intentions were good by trying to force kids to pay attention and take away the distraction that cell phones provide, they put cell phones in a negative light when it came to schoolwork. With the advancement of technology, cell phones actually have a lot of educational benefits for students.

Pro’s:

  • Smart Phones come with Apps that can aid students in completing school work and studying. Examples of these Apps include Quizzlet, Hooked on Phonics, and even SAT and ACT prep Apps. In fact, there is a whole category in the App Store for education that lists all the education related Apps available.

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  • The New York Times wrote an article focusing on how cell phones can be used for educational purposes. Students were invited to a summer camp where they used cell phones as scientific tools to test the pollution in the air and identify trees and bugs in the wilderness. It’s amazing that these small devices have the ability to give numbers for the exact pollution in the air and snap a picture of wildlife and identify what’s in the picture.

Students are highly affected by the new technology in today’s society, especially when it comes to education. The New Your Times published another article asking students to provide their opinion on the use of cell phones as educational tools.

Con’s:

While cell phones provide many educational purposes, when used incorrectly cell phones can be detrimental to students learning experience.

  • Distractions: Cell phones are a huge distraction to students in class. Even when on silent, when you feel it buzz it’s almost impossible to resist the urge to see who it was. This takes away the focus that the student has on the lesson being taught. The New York Times published an article containing a study involving the brains focus after being interrupted by a cell phone related distraction.
  • Free wifi on Campus: Many college campuses provide free wifi in every area on campus. The main purpose for this is so students can connect their laptops and complete assignments anywhere on campus. However, when students are on a cell phone data plan they can’t help but connect their cell phone to the free wifi in order to conserve their data usage. This doesn’t become an issue until students use the free wifi to scroll through Twitter and Facebook in a lecture, distracting them from paying attention to their professor. Because most lectures are larger in size, professors cannot be as strict with the cell phone policy. They don’t have time to watch 100-400 kids on their phones in a lecture hall.
  • Cheating: According to a survey of 2,000 middle and high school students conducted by Common Sense Media, more than a third of teens with cell phones (35%) say they’ve used a cell phone at least once to cheat during a test. CSM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that focuses on the impact of media and entertainment on kids and their families. CBS News published an article involving more statistics and storied from students that involve cell phones and cheating. Since cell phones are so small and pocket-sized, they’re easy to hide during a test and make cheating in schools even more possible than ever before.

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Of course, there will be pro’s and con’s to the advancements of all technologies. When advancements are utilized the right way, technology can have a major, positive impact on students and their ability to learn instead of just distracting students like everyone assumes.

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