In America and throughout the world, there has been a fundamental shift in the use of technology in learning and in schools In traditional classrooms students have lectures with a professor face to face and engage in non-technology based learning, whereas, in a more modern class room many different forms of technology are incorporated into learning. There are benefits to the reliance on technology, as well as potential pitfalls. There are many positive educational aspects directly tied to the addition of technology in schools. For example, personal devices that allow students access to a wider range of knowledge throughout the world and increased connectivity to educational resources are just two of the many potential educational aids that will be discussed in this paper. As students and teachers in the scholastic world enter this new age of technology, concerns have arisen about some potential problems. Some technologies such as cell phones, laptops, and personal computers may bring about certain types of harm. Students can now find almost any obscure bit of information or data, and some of this information may not be wholesome or age appropriate. Plagiarism and the dramatic increase of cyber-bullying also cause concerns over the safety of the Internet. In this paper the potential pros and cons will be discussed and examined.
Over the last decade, cell phones have become steadily more prevalent as the communication device of choice instead of land line telephones, according to the United Nations telecom agency “there were about 6 billion subscriptions by the end of 2011 – roughly one for 86 of every 100 people.” (Goldberg) Technology in cell phones have shown amazing growth over the past years, resulting in such added new features as, texting, email, video and picture messaging, cameras, and access to Internet. These new features add a new level of difficulty for teachers, not only to reach a student, but also to keep their student safe. Almost a million camera phones were sold last year, and in many places such phones are already accepted as the norm. In class, cell phones with cameras can be tools for scientific data collection, documentation, and visual journalism, allowing students to gather evidence, collect and classify images, and follow progressions over time. Creative cell phone photos can inspire students’ creative writing via caption or story contests. Phones can be placed in various appropriate places and operated remotely, allowing observations that would be impossible in person. Students can literally see what’s going on around the world, including sister classrooms in other countries which would help students achieve a better understanding of the world. These tools now have an instant impact on students. For instance instead of bringing a digital voice recorder students can now record lectures on phones allowing them to bring up professors key points at just a touch of a button.
Proponents of student cell phone use point to the many benefits of cell phones. Cell phones are useful to both parents and students when scheduling after-school activities and changes in family plans (such as afternoon pick-up times). Another reason cell phones are valuable for students is because internet browsers are now being built in to a number of phones. Web sites specifically designed for cell phones are becoming more and more numerous allowing students access to a host of different information. A browser in the cell phone puts a dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia instantly onto the hands of every student. It gives them instant access to Google and other text search engines, turning their cell phones into powerful research tools.
Detractors say that drawbacks to student cell phones outweigh the benefits. The primary concern is that cell phones distract students. Even though most schools require that phones be turned off during school hours, such a rule is difficult to enforce; for...