Wouldn’t school administrators want to embrace more technology in classrooms rather than try to exclude it? iPads, Smartboards, and overhead projectors are just some of the improvements schools have added to their classes. Some schools in our area even allow their students to have their cell phones out during school. Most teachers probably have rules regarding phone use during class, but students are allowed to use them when they are waiting for their buses in the afternoon, or to get picked up by a car. Over the years, the cell phone has evolved into not only a device used for communication, but also one used for entertainment, academic and leisurely research, and personal safety. Gone are the days of the flip phone, where the only things possible to do were talking and texting. Now, phones are able to provide internet, music, and thousands of apps for many different purposes. Students should be allowed to carry and operate a cell phone during the school day.
The first reason for allowing students to carry and operate cell phones in school is the issue of personal safety. In an emergency or a situation where a student has to use his or her cell phone to contact a parent or legal guardian quickly, they may not have enough time to find a member of school administration to ask permission to use their phone. For example, a common situation seen currently with students is missing the bus. If a student misses the bus in the afternoon, they need to be able to call a parent or legal guardian to get a ride home. Another example of an emergency is if the school needs to be evacuated quickly. If students have their phones with them, they can quickly contact a parent or legal guardian via text or call to tell them that they are okay or not okay. If the action of using a cell phone during an emergency such as an evacuation or a fire was prohibited, students would have no way of contacting loved ones themselves. Not only does allowing students the use of their phones during school promote personal safety, but it also gives students more academic responsibility and freedom as they get older and progress into middle and high school.
The second reason for allowing students to carry and operate cell phones in school is that students gain more freedom and responsibility as they become older and transition into middle and high school. Students in other schools in our area are allowed to use their phones during school hours. Allowing cell phones in school would test students’ responsibility in a way that they would have to manage their time and not become distracted by social media and the internet for the entire class period (Even though this could happen if phones were permitted, it is still a good idea to test the focusing of older students in the junior high as they transition to eighth and ninth grade.) Teachers could instruct their classes to look up information on their phones, or download an app for class purposes. Not only does allowing students to carry and operate cell phones in school give students more freedom and academic responsibility, but it is also useful for many academic purposes.
The third reason for allowing students to carry and operate cell phones in school is that there are many academic purposes a phone can be used for. One of these purposes is apps. There are thousands of educational apps and resources that can be used in school. An example of one of these apps is Khan Academy. Kahn Academy offers videos in math and science that are very helpful if you are having trouble understanding something. Another purpose for phones is online textbooks. Online textbooks are much easier to use, and in some cases, a more affordable way to get reading material for class. Many textbooks’ websites have the books there on the website. All you have to do is set up and account, and you’re all set. The last option is iBooks. They don’t have a lot to choose from as far as textbooks are concerned, but they have a lot of nonfiction books that could be great sources of research.
In order for students to better embrace the benefits of technology in a school setting, cell phone usage should be allowed during school hours, thus giving the students a better learning experience. Cell phones should be allowed during school because they are a source of personal safety, academic responsibility and freedom, and academic opportunities such as educational apps, the internet for research, and online textbooks. Students should not have to be suspended, or rather, punished at all for using a cell phone on school property during school hours. Cell phones are indeed a source of communication and can sometimes pose a distraction, but they are, in essence, a way for students to embrace technology and to complete school-related activities quickly and efficiently.