Do cell phones belong in the classroom? Students debate the pros and cons 2013.05.22

Written by Steve Lauber. Posted in Feature Stories

Cell phones can lead to some serious debate when considering their place in school.

Some would say they should not be used at all, while others see benefits the technology has to offer in learning.

Morenci Area High School’s rules allow students to use their phones during the lunch period, but currently there isn’t a particular rule that all teachers follow regarding use in the classroom.

Some teachers allow students to use their phones for study purposes, such as taking photos of diagrams or notes, researching, and using phone calendars for assignment due dates. Many students want to carry a phone and use it without first seeking permission.

Morenci English teacher Sally Kruger turned the debate into an assignment, asking her sophomore students to discuss the issue and write an essay arguing either for or against the use of cell phones in the classroom.

Following are two examples from each side of the debate.

AGAINST—All the way through high school my dad was able to live without having a phone in school. People always argue that we should have one for emergencies or to use as a calculator. Most people are only going to use it to text and to cheat.

“Well, we can use it for spell check.” What’s wrong with using a dictionary or asking your teacher?

“We can use it for a calculator.” All math classrooms are equipped with calculators.

“What if there is a family emergency or just an emergency in general?” I, personally, would not want a text message saying a family member had died. I would rather have my family or counselor pull me out of class to tell me. Even if there was an emergency at school, your parents are still going to have to call the school to come and get you.

There is no point in having cell phones in school. Our parents were able to go through school without phones so why can’t we? We are still learning the same things.

FOR—These days pretty much everybody has a cell phone. The debate now is whether or not we should have them in class. I believe thatwe should.

First, it could allow us to take notes without having to write them in pencil. Since there are people like me who have poor handwriting, it would make sense to type them so I could actually read them.

Also, it would allow some of the children to stop worrying about trying to hide them and just focus on their class work. I feel if students are allowed to have them it will also eliminate the fun people have breaking the rules.

Finally, for “emergency” type situations, if you forget something and need to call your parents, you won’t have to take that long walk all the way to the office. Also, if you have a personal issue and don’t want to involve your friends or others, just send a text to your parents and not worry about other people knowing your business.

Overall, I find cell phones in the classroom a useful tool with many benefits. I believe they should be allowed in the classroom and could be used beneficially. I hope you take this into consideration and change the rule.

AGAINST—I have decided to go against the subject of having phones in class. I made my decision to go against it because I think there are more cons than pros in the situation. I feel that students would abuse this privilege within a few weeks and nobody would pay attention to the teachers.

There are some benefits from having phones in class, but I’m worried about the efficiency of the students. Eventually, every rule gets broken, and every privilege gets abused. It would be easier for students to cheat on tests and they would spend more time texting or on social networks rather than using them for specifically educational purposes.

FOR—Technology, and learning to adapt to it, without a doubt, moves at an alarming rate. Kids deal with technology more today than they did even ten years ago. With the changing of technology during our times, I believe, so must the minds of our superiors. As with anything in teen life, if it is forbidden, the majority will try it anyway and get away with it.

The use of phones in school isn’t even necessarily bad. As long as it is allowed with teachers giving the students the opportunity to show maturity with the use of these items, I feel it can actually be good.

Phones are a responsibility. Our parents give us these phones. If we abuse our privilege, it is their duty to punish us. If our grades suffer because we have our phone, we pay the price.

I believe allowing us to have phones in class gives us the opportunity to learn how to discipline ourselves regarding technology. Abusing it will hurt us in the long run.

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