I am not going to lie, cell phones in the classroom have been a thorn in my side since I began my teaching career. Every year begins the same way, with maybe 3-4 students in my class who own cell phones. I outline the classroom rules, and expectations for cellphone usage, and it goes relatively well for the first few months. However, after every birthday or holiday, more and more students have a cellphone, and then they are addicted to the device. This is when I begin having major issues with cellphones. Before I know it, they whole class owns one and we need to repeat the class rules and expectations almost daily. When I signed up for this debate, I was thinking how difficult it would be to be a proponent and debate on the side of embracing cellphone usage and utilizing them because of the frustrations it has caused in my classroom. Once my group and I began the research, a whole world of possibilities and reasonings as to why cellphones should be embraced in the classroom altered my opinion.
We are living in an age where most people own a cellphone and it is a part of their everyday lives. No matter what rules schools or classes have, students will always find a way to bend or break the rules on this issue. The potential a cellphone has in a class setting is forever changing with new, innovative ways to utilize in the classroom setting. The research for this debate has altered my approach to this issue, and I want to use many of the free resources for augmented and virtual reality, like Google Expeditions, Unimersiv, and CBC VR. The idea of going on a “field trip” to see the wonders of the world, or all the opportunities educators could use for teaching science are endless.
The panic and fear caregivers have when it comes to sending their child to school, due to the tragedies that have occurred south of our boarder for the past couple decades is understandable. Students who own a cell phone provide a sense of safety, and a communication tool for caregivers to check in on their child to ensure they are safe.
Katia brought up a valid point about students who do not own a cell phone, and if an educator has a “cell phone hotel” and all the spaces are filled with the exception of one or two students, it could cause a sense of embarrassment or have other students think differently of them. As an educator and father, this tears me up inside to know that some may feel left out if they do not own a phone, or if their family may not be able to afford one. Valid reasons such as this have me believe cellphones do not have a place in the school, but the pros outweigh the negatives on this issue in my opinion. Therefore, cellphones should not be banned from schools.
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