Why Banning Mobile Devices in Schools?

Mobile devices are getting smaller and more powerful.  They have the ability to deliver learning objects and provide access to online systems and services.  Today, mobile devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smart phones, Blackberry, iPods, MP3 and MP4 players are finding their way into classrooms in students’ pockets.  These high tech gadgets are useful learning support tools for students.  Unfortunately, many teachers and administrators have serious concerns about the use of these high tech gadgets in schools.  Some schools are so afraid and go extreme to ban these mobile devices for security and other reasons.  It is true that mobile devices could be disruptive and dangerous in schools.  So can pencils and scissors, as Doug Johnson made his points in the article “A Proposal for Banning Pencils” as well as Wesley Fryer argued in his online article “Scissors and Cell Phones.”  Banning these devices is not a good solution since the Internet is not going away, and neither are online social networks, cell phones, mp3 players, and other mobile devices.As teachers and educators, we should educate our students with the proper use of the mobile technologies.  We should work together with our students who are digital natives to figure out how these devices can be used in authentically ways to enhance teaching and learning.  Teachers and school administrators should embrace the rich learning enhancing possibilities that these mobile devices provides and will provide even more so in the future.  Instead of banning these wonderful learning tools in schools, we must ensure that educational practices include the adoption of mobile technologies in productive ways.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Educational Technology, Mobile Learning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Why Banning Mobile Devices in Schools?

  1. Tina Russell says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Tina Russell

  2. Shenetta Booth says:

    What are the most popular devices in the world now? That is correct, Mobile devices. These devices can be cell phones, PDAs, laptops, or anything that is small enough to carry around. Should mobile devices be banned from schools, well, that depends on what the device is. If it’s a cell phone, YES! It should be banned. Why? The bottom line, it’s a cheating device. Text messaging is the most highly notable form of cheating in schools today. Also, in the recent news, cell phones are unruly devices used in situations that sometimes can be unexplainable. I mean things that happen between a student and teacher that I am not going to get into that shouldn’t happen. That’s another reason for banning cell phones at high schools. The use of laptops and PDAs are ok, only if they have restrictions and filters on them that students wouldn’t be able to access material other than what they are assigned to. Its not arguable, it’s doable and this is speaking from experience.
    For college students, having a mobile device shouldn’t be a major problem, especially with cheating, but it is. Students shouldn’t be allowed to access their cell phones in the classroom. But, they are grown and you couldn’t say much to the student. Except when it comes time for a test and the student is caught using their cell during test, then teachers should be allowed to take the phone. Oh that would be funny, a college student giving up their phone because they were caught cheating. It happens all the time. Laptops and PDAs are very useful to college students, but it is up to them to treat the teacher with respect.

  3. guoqiangcui says:

    I do agree that mobile devices use should not be banned in school. With the fast development of the modern technology and the mobile devices, they are more and more useful and available to the mobile learning. Mobile learning has its great benefits and I think no one is willing to deny this fact. Mobile learning will enable learners to learn anywhere, anytime. There can be greater student engagement, more effective collaboration and interaction and it could possibly draw back the students who have already lost the interest and enthusiasm in learning. Then when we move on to the use of mobile devices in schools, the issue becomes controversial. I think it is quite understandable. One great concern for it is that students may abuse the uses of mobile devices like cell phones, PDAs, smart phones, etc. I have to confess that I occasionally use cell phone to send SMS in college as an undergraduate, especially the class is a big one, with more than 150 students, and more especially if the content and the way teacher delivered is especially boring. For the small kids, I think they may even go further to wildly use the mobile devices without the teachers’ guidance and regulation. So I think the use of mobile devices in school should be conducted differently according to different audiences. For the small children, they can use the mobile devices under the monitoring of the teachers. If the class is small, everything will be under control, especially with application of suitable central controlling system (needs to be developed), the students can not abuse the use of the devices, and they can be directed in the right way and make full use of all the instructional materials and resources. For the adult who have more self-control and self-discipline, they can be encouraged to use all kinds of devices available and best profit from the mobile learning.

  4. Marc says:

    I think there’s a misconception that allowing cell phones, PDAs and other personal electronic devices automatically implies permission to misuse these devices. There will always be rules and there will always be those who violate rules. But keep in mind there are also those who will abide by rules. There will always be people who misuse technology but I believe we’re missing many opportunities by placing a blanket ban on personal electronics. By the way, my opinion on this issue was the exact opposite a year ago.

  5. Amy says:

    I think that some people look at the use of mobile technologies from a negative perspective instead of looking at them as being something that can have a positive effect on learning. I think it is a mistake to try to pinhole the new technologies available into the current method of instruction. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. But, on the other side I don’t thinks it’s appropriate to leave these technologies out of instruction all together. I think its time to come up with new and interesting ways to use this new technology to benefit our student’s education. If we are worried about student’s using them to cheat, maybe we aren’t appropriately assessing their ability. Aren’t there other ways to assess whether students are learning besides giving them paper and pencil tests? I agree with Mr. Johnson’s article, “A Proposal for Banning Pencils”, we can always find reasons not to use any instrument, whether it’s a pencil or some form of technology, but why not try and find reasons to use them instead.

    There are always going to be bad influences in the world for us to protect our children from, but isn’t it better to teach them about what is available in the world and how to appropriately use it to learn and make the world a better place. Technology is changing faster than we can keep up with it. I would think it would be much better to let students learn from what is happening now by using the technology that they have access to rather than from what appears in a textbook that may be 5 to 10 years old and completely irrelevant to their life and learning experiences.

  6. Christopher Tisdale says:

    Technology has been the learning key for many students throughout the ages. There should be more classes about using mp3s, hand held computers, I-Pods, and other personal technology tools to help students better understand our world. The real world is moving forward faster every day. Instead of holding students back on a basis of fear, school officials should embrace the use of these objects and teach from them.

    There are many ways to implement such technology in the classroom. One way is the cell phone. Many students have cell phones. The most common and popular use of the cell phone is not talking anymore; it is now text messaging. Students have gotten away from using proper English when communicating with others. By adding this technology in the classroom, teachers can teach the students how to use proper English on a level the students will understand.

    Hand held computers such as the Blackberry or I-Phone have been a step forward for today’s world. Technology such as this is truly the meaning of “the world at your fingertips.” The internet has been a great learning tool for students by helping them broaden their minds through others all across the world. We have gone from an age to where the only source of knowledge was in the school library to an age where anything you would like to learn about is sourced from anywhere at any given time.

    Teachers can use smaller devices such as these in the classroom to increase learning, participation, and test scores; in return it can decrease disruption and careless behaviors with rules and consequences set forth in use of mobile devices.

  7. houbinfang says:

    This is really a good topic because on one hand we should understand that these mobile devices did cause some negative problems on campus, on the other hand that educators and teachers really do not know how to deal with this in some areas. I think let the educators and teachers work together with students and help them with the usage of these devices is a good idea. But I am concerning another problem: do all the teachers or educators know how to help students to use these new devices?
    I mean, as we all know that kids are so called digital natives which means they are born in technology environment and also means have higher level in technology than the educators who are so-called digital immigrants. So if the educators do not know how to use these devices or they are not good at these new technologies, how can they HELP? Even the educators and teachers try their hard we still cannot guarantee that all of them can keep up with these new generations. That is also the reason that why some schools use the extremely way to deal with this: banning. The thing is BANNING is wrong, then where is the right way?
    In my opinion, I suggest the school districts should response for this and they have the abilities to do this. First, they can do some researches in their own districts and find out what are the real problems, what kinds of devices appearing and how they are distractive from study. Second, they can invite professionals to help teachers to solve these kinds of problems happening their districts. This will be better for letting teachers just go online to learn by themselves. I do not think this is an individual problem in a certain number of schools. So educators should work together to lead students for proper usage is a better way than just banning.

  8. Shannon says:

    This is a great idea. I think that students in today’s world are constantly getting new technology, and are able to better use it than students of the past. If teachers can incorporate these advances into the educational setting, then it is one more way to better help their students. The use of MP3 devices can be very useful in school, because lectures and other discussions can be placed on them, and students could listen to them as many times as they may need to help them get the most out of the lecture. Laptops, and other devices that allow the user to connect to the internet, are all great learning devices, because it really puts the world just a touch/click away. Students can immediately look up information on the internet and not have to wait until later if they are interested at the moment. Although the use of cell phones in class can be a hindrance, they are a part of the world today, and it should be taught when the use of them is appropriate or not. Younger students can have their phones taken away, but they are also very common in colleges, and used by so many people. It is hard to say where they cross the line, because people do use their phones to keep assignments and other important dates on, so that they have it with them when necessary. I am a fan of the advanced technology being part of the classroom, because I think it is only a benefit to the students to use it, as long as it is used appropriately and in combination with the curriculum.

  9. Lou says:

    This subject can be very tricky. On one hand, phones and music devices are an incurable distraction. I believe that they will forever be used as entertainment first and foremost. Yes, I believe that if they were taught to be able to use them for education and knowledge purposes then they would, but not always. There are so many great ideas about using these devices in elementary, junior high and high school aged kids. Even parents can benefit from learning in this type of environment. They would be able to follow progress and assignments throughout the school year. I really enjoy the idea that they would be able to take practice tests or quizzes straight from anywhere and while they are doing anything. Today, a child does not have to be of a certain age to have a piece of the technology pie. A five year old is almost as likely to have a cell phone or mp3 player as an eighteen year old. Most kids these days have some sort of cellular phone device and either an iPod or mp3 player. And because of that, it makes perfect sense to incorporate education into these technological devices. If you don’t teach them what good productive things that they can learn and take away from it, then it will only be used for recreation and entertainment purposes. Schools are a place for learning and advancement, and this is an excellent time for educators and educational institutions to pick up the slack and move their students in the right direction. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and if they aren’t taught properly how to use it…what can we expect from them?

  10. Andrea Howard says:

    I wish that more educators shared the same mentality you do regarding technology in the classroom. So many who shy away from using “complicated” technological devices in their classroom do so because of their fear. They fear what they do not know; they fear change. School districts today are now being required to implement a certain level of technology in the curriculum as a result of NCLB, so many districts are scrambling to certify teachers and administrators in areas of technology.

    The very technological devices that have been banned in the classrooms may very well be the saving grace of the educational technology requirements set forth by the NCLB Act. If educators would step out of their comfort zones long enough to get on this technological bandwagon, the students may overall experience surmountable academic success.

    In my opinion, the major downfall of technologically motivated education is the cost associated with acquiring the devices and training the administrators.

  11. who needs 2 no says:

    ya man ur right keep up the good work

  12. James M. Thompson says:

    After reading this article, I was reminded of individuals that are set in their old ways. It is quite difficult to get certain individuals to look at matters from various points of views. As stated in the article, I do agree that both teachers and administrators should be educated regarding the benefits for students to have mobile devices. If school officials perceive mobile devices as a potential problem, I believe that a focus group should be assembled to diagnose the problem. After everything is said and done, the concerns may not be as complicated as it appears on surface. I am somewhat split in my decision for banning mobile devices. There is nothing wrong for students to have mobile devices as long as it does not become a distraction.

    As a former teacher, I did not want for students to bring cellular phones or MP3 players into my classroom for fear that if it is missing, it would become that student focus for the entire period. It is easy for students to become distracted; therefore, my job was to minimize the distractions as much as possible. On the other hand, if I did not see the mobile devices, I did not have a problem because it was out of sight. I cannot speak on behalf of the many educators that are against having mobile devices in schools. My final thought of not having mobile devices in schools is to relieve many parents of having the burden of wanting school administrators to become investigators and expecting for the missing mobile device to magically reappear.

  13. Katelyn says:

    I think that schools need to embrace the use of mobile devices. It is true that they can be a distraction, a hinderance, and they can be used to cheat on exams. But this is a small minority of students, and I dont think that banning these devices is the best solution to the problem. Students can get a lot of educational use from PDAs and MP3 players, and banning them really doesn’t work. In my four years at a public highschool where cell phones and MP3 players were banned in class, there was always at least one person texting through a lecture. If we embraced these technologies and provided the children with files that can be downloaded to MP3 players, PDAs, or laptops then they can focus on the educational aspect, and since the lesson is presented in some way on technology that the students understand then they will probably enjoy the lesson more. Having access to the internet during class is also very nice, and I have found it useful on several accounts. Also by using such devices in instruction we are giving our students greater instruction on how to use the devices to their full potential, which will help them greatly in the future.

  14. wanda moye says:

    I agree with the quote by President Theodore Roosevelt, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” and it has been a long process to not let our fears run our lives. We must engage in dialogs to determine who and when can new technology be introduced into our classrooms. The educational system can no longer use ignorance of technology or price as a reason not to expose children to where the real world is going.

    Currently, schools are investing money into cell phone zappers. Before long someone will invent a device to zap the zappers. This war of the generations could go on forever. I think we need to be proactive with technology. Let an instructional technologist help the classroom teacher design a lesson plan around the device. The same devices that are used in elementary school can be used in high schools with a focus on more advanced objectives.

    In my school, the superintendent, the school board and the principles do not want cell phones in the school. Yet, each carries a cell phone. I believe several would have PDA’s if only they knew how to use them. The problem is not the technology. The problem is getting teachers and administrators up to speed with technology. Many teachers that are digital immigrants who do not want to learn some thing new. They think that they are about to retire and do not want to add more things on their to-do list, to get ready to class.

    At one time, cell phones where feared by everyone. Currently, millions of people have given up landlines and only use cell phones. As we know, most students of all ages have cell phones. The same is true of computers; at one time, computers where awkward to use and expensive to buy. I have a two thousand dollar computer at home, it is at least eight years old, I also have a $1,00 desktop that is twice as powerful and only three years old. Technology changes things and people.

    Yes, there are times when students will be off task. However, their grade will reflects their actions. If a student is truly disengaged, not having technology available is not going to make them any more interested in school.

  15. 莊明廣 says:

    我同意老師的看法,禁止並不是最好的方法,因為科技技術的發展,並不會因為您的禁止而消失了。

    我們從另一個角度來看問題,「沒有問題學生,只有學生問題」這一點是說明了學校教育工作人員和學生之間的觀念落差,更嚴重的來說是溝通不良所產生的。

    前面的文章裡,我也曾提過,科技工具的發展本身,並不是為教育的特定目的而量身打造的,他一定有其侷限性、有其優勢存在,我們在教育現場裡,不可以因噎而廢食。認為手機、3G手機、MP4等會影響學生的學習,甚至因為社交緣故而造成學生問題,為了便於管理,加以禁止,這並不是最好的策略。

    從數位原民的論述來看,學生使用手機進行社交活動,和我們以前運用電話連絡情誼是一樣的道理,現在的學生運用MP4和我們以前透過收音機來聽空中美語是一樣的道理,那為什麼以前我們固定時間收聽空中美語來學習語言,現在無法藉由MP4來學習語言呢?反而要一味禁止呢?這是不對的。

    科技工具本身沒有善惡的問題,有的是使用者加諸身上的意圖,既然如此,身為教育工作人員,更應該要發揮創意、善用工具特性、優勢,加以引導,讓科技工具成為協助學生學習的利器才對。

  16. 莊明廣 says:

    我同意老師的看法,禁止並不是最好的方法,因為科技技術的發展,並不會因為您的禁止而消失了。

    我們從另一個角度來看問題,「沒有問題學生,只有學生問題」這一點是說明了學校教育工作人員和學生之間的觀念落差,更嚴重的來說是溝通不良所產生的。

    前面的文章裡,我也曾提過,科技工具的發展本身,並不是為教育的特定目的而量身打造的,他一定有其侷限性、有其優勢存在,我們在教育現場裡,不可以因噎而廢食。認為手機、3G手機、MP4等會影響學生的學習,甚至因為社交緣故而造成學生問題,為了便於管理,加以禁止,這並不是最好的策略。

    從數位原民的論述來看,學生使用手機進行社交活動,和我們以前運用電話連絡情誼是一樣的道理,現在的學生運用MP4和我們以前透過收音機來聽空中美語是一樣的道理,那為什麼以前我們固定時間收聽空中美語來學習語言,現在無法藉由MP4來學習語言呢?反而要一味禁止呢?這是不對的。

    科技工具本身沒有善惡的問題,有的是使用者加諸身上的意圖,既然如此,身為教育工作人員,更應該要發揮創意、善用工具特性、優勢,加以引導,讓科技工具成為協助學生學習的利器才對。

  17. 林學志 says:

    我是高師大工教博士班學生 林學志

    有一句話曾說過:「時空阻止不了偉大的科學家」
    就好像科技的發展是無法阻止的一樣,現今許多科技產物的發明率與汰換率是非常高,遠遠超越社會價值與倫理之前,而該用何種心態來看待與使用科技產物呢?
    有些人認為因為無法阻擋,故不需管理
    而我個人認為一定程度的管理是需要的
    就好像90年代手機發展初期,使用率成長的非常快
    幾乎每個人都有,但是手機這個科技產物的使用習慣尚未建立
    所以許多人任由手機鈴聲亂響或是在室內空間大聲的講電話
    這些不良的科技使用行為都會與社會制度相衝突
    我想這不是手機等科技產物的問題
    而是人類使用習慣與態度問題

    故在校內或是學習環境是否應推廣或禁止行動裝置?
    我想還是老話一句,依用途及需求來決定
    我想若能將行動裝置運用於學習及提升教學成效方面
    且不會造成其他人士的困擾
    我想學校方面不會禁止這類裝置的使用
    但是一項新科技產物需多久才能與社會制度相融合或建立新制度?
    我個人就無法提出想法了…

    以上看法與大家分享,也期待大家的指教~謝謝

  18. 林學志 says:

    老師您好
    我是高師大工教博士班學生 林學志

    有一句話曾說過:「時空阻止不了偉大的科學家」
    就好像科技的發展是無法阻止的一樣,現今許多科技產物的發明率與汰換率是非常高,遠遠超越社會價值與倫理之前,而該用何種心態來看待與使用科技產物呢?
    有些人認為因為無法阻擋,故不需管理
    而我個人認為一定程度的管理是需要的
    就好像90年代手機發展初期,使用率成長的非常快
    幾乎每個人都有,但是手機這個科技產物的使用習慣尚未建立
    所以許多人任由手機鈴聲亂響或是在室內空間大聲的講電話
    這些不良的科技使用行為都會與社會制度相衝突
    我想這不是手機等科技產物的問題
    而是人類使用習慣與態度問題

    故在校內或是學習環境是否應推廣或禁止行動裝置?
    我想還是老話一句,依用途及需求來決定
    我想若能將行動裝置運用於學習及提升教學成效方面
    且不會造成其他人士的困擾
    我想學校方面不會禁止這類裝置的使用
    但是一項新科技產物需多久才能與社會制度相融合或建立新制度?
    我個人就無法提出想法了…

    以上看法與大家分享,也期待大家的指教~謝謝

  19. Christine Mark says:

    I did a search on the blog for “ipod” and found this post from two years ago on mobile devices. I enjoyed the spirited conversations that occurred in the responses. After I finished reading, I was amused at how not much has changed in two years. Teachers are still ranting about inappropriate cell phone use (the PDA seems to have started its descent to the technology grave), cheating, texting, and surfing bad places while students continue to use and misuse their technology. Some things seem not to change very much.

    Indeed, in my classes in 2010, texting seems to be the preferred communication mode even now, and trying to get students to put the devices down during class is becoming more of a struggle every day. I, too, am concerned about the use of phones for cheating, and while texting has always been popular, it seems students now are taking pictures of their exams—now that cameras on cell phones are ubiquitous—and then sharing them via email or Facebook. Clearly as technology advances so will the twisting of technology advance.

    But, I agree with Amy that teachers can only win this battle by turning the technology on the students and finding ways to integrate the devices into the classroom. I have one colleague who has her students text responses in class—much like using a Clicker—so that technology becomes a tool; I have another colleague that encourages tweeting responses in class using Twitter.

    I also think the time has come to unlock the internet in the classroom, have teachers exercise their own autonomy and judgment, and allow students to access the web in class, since that is what they will do outside of class. Ever since the dawn of time students, if not watched by their teachers, have engaged in questionable behaviors and today is no different, just the mode of access. Teachers can supervise their students and insure safe use of internet resources.

    So, what will happen? It will be interesting to revisit this post in a couple of years and see if anything has changed; my guess is that the debate will still be raging.

  20. Like some of the fellow teachers have already mentioned in these replies, there are definite concerns with students using mobile devices in the classroom. For now, I believe mobile devices will remain “banned” and unacceptable during classtime; however, I believe the future may hold a little something different.

    With all of the current research being conducted on the use of mobile learning devices, mobile technologies, etc, I believe it is only a matter of time before mobile learning devices are implemented greatly throughout the curriculum and subject matter of K-12 students. While it would be costly to provide students with their own mobile device for school use, it may possibly be on the horizon for wealthier school districts who have the funds to do so. However, with personal mobile devices for each student, this brings about the issue of what the device will be used for, for how long, when the student must bring it to class, whether he/she would be able to take the device home, etc. Sometimes, in my opinion, the implementation of certain technologies is “easier said than done.” Especially with K-12 education, there is a considerable amount of privacy, and other legality issues present.

    While I believe there would have to be strong regulation of “personal” and “school” devices, I definitely think the potential is there. Students would have more access to their learning, including educational videos, podcasts, electronic submission of assignments (reducing paper waste), and access to materials outside of class. I believe students would utilize this type of technology—maybe even more so than we think!

  21. Dane Conrad says:

    This is an interesting and controversial topic that I don’t think is going to come to a resolution anytime soon. I agree that students have these devices, know how to use them, and could/should be taught responsible uses for them in our educational system. However, I don’t think change will happen in relation to policies concerning these mobile devices until changes happen at the top of educational institutions. School boards and Superintendents have to be the ones that support this kind of change in school environments and unfortunately they are usually the adults furthest from technology use – at least in my experience. It seems that the further up the ladder you go, the older the leaders get which usually means that they are not first hand users and are very reluctant even resistant to change.

    These devices do cause more than one concern for tech coordinators as well. Some will say that they have no control over the Internet service for those students that then equals unfiltered access. However, the regulations that requires tech coordinators to filter only applies to the service they provide. Thus if a student accesses porn on their iPhone while at school, then the school should punish the student just as if he had brought an adult magazine with no repercussions on the network administrator. However, the ease of hiding the porn on the electronic device is much greater as well as the ability to broadcast it to other electronic devices. In addition, it is easier to dispose of the electronic file from the electronic device in a split second that to hide a magazine.

  22. Jacquelyn Johnston says:

    This is one of my favorite blogs. I love the article “A Proposal for Banning Pencils” and the article “Scissors and Cell Phones.” Maybe it as not as simple as comparing cell phones to pencils or scissors, but if you really think about it, well it comes close. Just think about the possibilities for teaching and learning provided through the use of mobile phones that we already know about. I think that we all need to put our heads together and get a smart phone in the hands of all our students. I recently read an article that discussed the use of iPods in the classroom. Apparently, iPods are being used in many classrooms with much success. The emerging of these new technologies and the increase numbers of ownership is changing the face of learning. Students are coming to us learning in new and different ways. It is our job to make the adjustments to their needs. Not only are the learners changing, but the world in which they live is changing rapidly. In order for our students to keep up and be ready for the 21st Century global life, is it possible that we need to make adjustments and change our traditional ways of instruction? Maybe it is time to lift that ban on mobile devices. Maybe it is time to explore creative ways to harness this tool as a learning device to be used in the expanding classroom.

  23. Rongfei says:

    Everything is a double-slide sword, especially those arguable policies. Banning mobile devices is one of them. Teenagers are among their period of life that is the most shapeable and unstable, a period of life during which young students could be influenced by any kind of distraction, either good or bad. Advocates may argue that the major concern for students is to learn, to be more specific, to manage their coursework well, get a good GPA, learn knowledge and prepare themselves for colleges where they can learn more to get themselves ready for the challenges coming from the society and their future career. A positive environment for students to learn and mode their personality comes from good guidance from teachers, parents and classmates that is supportive and healthy to each other. Social distraction to students may be untraceable and uncontrollable – they may be dangerous or negative to the molding process of students’ growth. Mobile device, especially cellphones, can be a large channel for social influences to come to students’ life without a certain censorship system. Therefore, they should be banned because students are not ready for stepping into the adult society yet.

    Although such arguments may sound tenable in terms of students major responsibility and the ideal learning & growing environment, but when it comes to diversified learning method and style and up-to-date learning technology possibility, we can of course find supporting details to make a adverse argument: how can a student get in touch with his/her parent if he does not see them after school? How about when then encounter some emergency? How about some students who prefer learning by doing and moving, such as on their way back home? What if some good course content was developed just for mobile devices? … Situated Learning theory and social constructivism are supportive for learning in a social environment. Students’ in-class interaction has a very low sociability. Using mobile device in teaching and learning has been attached by more and more importance by educators and instructional technologists.

    Therefore, banning the device is apparently not the best resolution. As problem-solvers, we should think of a way to resolve problem and improve situation, not to expunge possibilities. Sometimes such decision will not solve problem but to intensify it. I think maybe technologists can develop censorship system or mobile device designed specially for students, which has the capability to recognize unhealthy information and restrict the communication within a certain group of people, for instance teachers, peer students, and parents. Solutions like that, will not only resolve the problem, but also expand learning possibilities.

  24. Roslyn Warren says:

    I was just telling a client (I teach parenting classes once a week) that killing technology is not the solution to managing today’s students. He blames cellphones and the Internet for behavior issues. Once we let go of the fact that change is bad, then we can move on and take care of the REAL ISSUES. Yes, the use of technology can become a distraction is improperly managed. Children who have open-minded, active parents often communicate more effectively than those who are closed to change. Change will happen and that’s how we grow. Otherwise, we’d still be stuck in the dark ages. We have to learn to be creative and find new ways to deal with technology and social issues. Though, he may not have adopted a new way to deal with problems that cell phones and the Internet are causing, I do believe that he began to understand why it was necessary to adapt.

    1. We dont’ want to lose our children because the world around us is changing.
    2. Its better to jump on the boat than the sink to the bottom of the ocean.
    3. Jumping on the boat doesn’t mean that you have to accept the status quo, but it will give you an opportunity to define its uses for yourself and guage the seen and unseen dangers. After all, “You don’t know what you don’t know” and at least learning about how technology can be helpful allows you to continue the flow of communication with others.

  25. keenonwynn says:

    As a technology teacher I agree that as the cell phone becomes “smarter” and more powerful it is evolving in to an amazing tool for education. I would like nothing more that to be able to observe, control, edit, or add information to my class site from my mobile devise. I also see the potential and different angles in which these devices could benefit the word of education. Image, if you will, home work submitted by an absent student who does not have a lap top or desk top. As a teacher who stresses the importance of meeting deadlines these mobile devises provide yet another avenue to take away excuses and meet responsibility. Also it is a possibility that some point these mobile devices will become just as powerful if not more powerful that the laptop or desktop which could eliminate the need for school districts to make these huge technology purchases. With the growing percentages of students already owning smart phones the school will only need to provide web access.

    Now for the cons; as a 9th grade high school teacher I see the distractions that a mobile devise can cause. At present I teach at a school the cell phones and all electronic devices are banned. But with good reason, the maturity level of most of my students is somewhat low. I have to monitor internet access in my lab very closely. All too often a basic internet research project turns in to level 5 of Angry Birds! At present I would suggest that mobile devices are left to a higher level of education.

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