This century is characterized by the massive use of mobile phones for interaction and communication. According to a recent study in the American school of education, global mobile phone use will surpass 4.6 billion by 2019. The massive use of cellphones cuts across people of different ages, gender, and nationalities. A recent study on the impact of cellphone use has been directed on young people especially those in school. Most researchers today are concentrating on establishing whether students should be allowed to have cell phones in school. There has been a heated debate on the same because mobile use in school comes with a plethora of benefits as well as risks.
Further statistics indicate that 92 percent of American teens get online daily and nearly 75 percent of them have access to a smartphone, free Wi-Fi both in school and at home. The connection to the internet means that teens are always connected to friends through social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp. As a result, there is an endless battle with their educators who are trying to get the students attention in classes.
Cell phones are essential in enhancing learning among learners. Mobile phones have been used extensively in conducting research. Although most schools have some computers in the classroom and in computer labs, this might not be enough to serve all the students. Furthermore, compared to computers cell phones are more comfortable because one can conduct educational research anywhere and any time of the day. Some apps on mobile phones make learning more exciting and thus enhance understanding. For example, most students will prefer watching learning apps that contain essential learning materials than obtaining such information from a written book. This is because most apps are quite impressive. Besides, mobile phones have other essential features that are useful to students for learning. These features include calculators, dictionaries and stopwatches. These tools are in almost all types of phones and are very useful in a class set up.
Use of cell phones in school has enabled teachers to share essential educational images and videos to students who have difficulties in conceptualizing some ideas. The use of short-videos has proved useful in capturing and maintaining students’ attention and hence enhancing their understanding capacity. Another essential feature is the use of music while learning to strengthen concentration. Music plays a critical role in calming the unconscious attention system that keeps shifting to whatever human sense find significant. Silencing the inert system allows students to remain focused for long on their studies. Music also helps students to concentrate in a hostile learning environment such as a noisy class.
The use of mobile phones at school prepares students for their future lives and careers. If the goal of a school is to prepare students for life after school, it is then essential to encourage the use of tools that they will be using during the time. Most jobs today require the use of cell phones in various ways such as for ordering products; engineers can view blueprints and grocers in checking inventories. Students need to get familiarized with these gadgets since most professions today are using mobile technology to carry out a myriad of activities. Failure to prepare students for the modern world of technology is negligent.
However, the use of mobile phones in school has been associated with numerous disadvantages to the students and teachers as well. The disruptive nature of cell phones is one of the major drawbacks for using mobile use in schools. Research shows that people who own cell phones will check their phones every 12 minutes regardless of whether they have other engagements or not. Additionally, most people today use their smartphones as house keys, appointment keepers and alarm clocks, and this further explains the source of distraction.
Teachers have expressed fears that the decline in academic performance is partly due to the tolerance of mobile phones in classrooms. Teachers in schools where students are allowed to use mobile phones have to struggle to maintain students’ attention during classes. Cellphones also offer an easy escape for students to classes who think that they can obtain videos or audio for the missed classes. Research indicates that multitasking between learning and snooping your cell phone for messages has detrimental effects on one’s academic performance. Checking and responding to social media messages while attending a lesson will increase the time and concentration needed by students while studying at home to understand the lesson’s content.
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp are addictive, and therefore users may experience some form of tension or anxiety when their phones are taken off. It is clear that cell phones have adverse effects on students. Many schools have implemented strong policies against the use of cell phones at school and others have even implemented zero-tolerance policies for the use of cell phones.
In conclusion, there is a lengthy debate about whether cell phones should be allowed in schools or should not be allowed. There seems to be no agreement between researchers, educators, parents, and students about if cell phones should be allowed in school. However, based on the observations made on this paper, the benefits of allowing cell phones in schools seems to outweigh the limitations, and therefore educators should consider allowing students to use cell phones at school.