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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Education Discussion: Phones in the Classroom Part 2

Source:  http://edudemic.com/2010/05/teaching-by-texting-how-some-schools-encourage-texting-in-class/
Most of my students have a smart phone of some type.  I rarely see an old fashioned, plain-old call and text only cell phone.  I mean, how embarassing would it be to have such a dinosaur in your possession?  Mobs of people will run away from you shrieking.

 I typically see every cell phone owned by every single student in my classes.  Why?  Because they are always out, and they are often in use.  I can recognize their cases with or without bling. In my opinion, cell phones in the classroom are a giant factor in the decline of academic performance for  teens.

Source:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/110129798/dear-students-i-know-when-youre-texting
Most parents are worried about their teen being distracted by their cell phone when driving, a huge danger, but the truth is, cell phones are as dangerous to the learning process as texting is to driving.  A huge leap?  Not really.  If your kid has a phone, he or she will inevitably check it several times during a single class period.

Teens are talented covert texters.  They can text blindly from the inside of a hoodie pocket, a purse, or pants pocket.  I once saw a sign that said, "I can tell you are looking at your cell phone because your crotch is not that interesting."  Frankly, that's not something I EVER want to evaluate, but when I am teaching how to write an expository essay, I expect you to listen to me rather than the music on your iPhone.

It is also all too easy to use a smart phone as a cheating device.  Is there an app for that?  Thanks to "brilliant" inventions like Snap Chat, it is all too easy to take a picture of a test answer and beam it across the room to a buddy. And you thought Snap Chat was just for sexting.

My junior students, who are the hardest to entertain, find ways to entertain themselves during class by playing Temple Run and Razzle on their phones. Truthfully, I wasn't sure what games they play since I hate games, weird I know, so I simply asked.

Just yesterday I had to make severe threats to take their phones away for the weekend due to a disgusting and gross viral video of a girl eating her used tampon that is currently going around.  1.  GROSS!!!  2.  What is wrong with kids that they would film this?  3.  Why would they watch it?   Oh, she is another viral Internet video idiot from my home state.  Way to represent!

There are helpful educational apps and Internet tools that kids can use in class.  On those days, I do allow them to use their phones. When they don't know the meaning of a word, I let them look it up on their phone.  From what I hear, in the teacher world, if you don't let kids use their phones in class for educational purposes, you are not cool and popular.   (Oh, well.)  However,  it's not cool when the second they pull their phone out, they complete the assigned task as quickly as possible and move on to their own little world inside of Temple Run.  What are they learning then?

Parents, sometimes you are your child's worst enemy when it comes to cell phones in school.  Why are you texting your kids during class?  I understand that it is sometimes necessary to send them a quick message without expecting a response for at least an hour.  I have a student whose mother genuinely gets upset with her daughter if she does not respond to her text immediately, even during English class. Last year I sent out an email to all of the parents of students in my English 10 class explaining that if they are seeing a drop in their child's grade, that is because they are spending more time texting and surfing during class than paying attention and actively working, and that I would be enforcing my classroom cell rules.  I had only one response out of 60 families reiterating that I was welcome to take their child's phone away.

Sure kids should be responsible for following cell phone rules.  It's just that the ping from a fresh new text message is irresistible to them.  Their pleasure centers in their brain light up, and they simply must look.  If your teen's grades are declining, I suggest checking their phone use during school hours.  That will be your answer.


4 comments:

  1. Had to giggle about that picture quote. It drives me crazy when I see students with phones in hand during the school day. Visiting and now following you from the Mom's Mingle. Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh I hear you! I'm a high school teacher too!! Love the quote - too funny!

    Following you now!

    Aanika from www.theactivemum.com

    Xx

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  3. I don't envy you trying to teach kids in today's society in a classroom where you have your hands tied as much as you do. It's almost a matter of survival to use the cell phones in lessons, but now you can do more than one app on your phone at a time so that leads to even more trouble in my book.

    My hat goes off to you.

    ReplyDelete