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Cellphones in the Classroom

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Cellphones in the Classroom
Jasmyn Clark
April 20th 2013
English 110
Illustration Essay
A Text or The Lesson? As technology progresses, cell phones are becoming a useful yet harmful tool in todays society where education is concerned. Students who use their cell phones in the classroom have found themselves distracted, not focused on the tasks at hand, missing important notes., and attempting to cheat. In most high schools, students are not allowed to use cell phones at school for any reason. Whereas in college, at the beginning of the semester most teachers outline the requirements of the class and whether or not cell phone use is acceptable. Cell phones not only distract the students but in most cases it distracts the teacher, interrupting the learning process. Teaching is a difficult job and now with the distraction of cell phones it is becoming even harder to keep the students’ attention. For instance, if a student receives a text message in class they will usually respond and within minutes they will get a response, setting off a never-ending cycle of distraction. The student is distracted, and then the teacher sees the student and has to stop the lesson in order to tell the student to stay off of their device. So now the student, teacher, and other students become distracted, taking away valuable teaching time. The whole class becomes off task. Many teachers have taken harsh measurements to stop the use of cellphones in classrooms such as: putting students out, giving them a failing grade on assignments, or even keeping the phone until the end of the day. Text messaging is not the only distraction cell phones bring, as now with social networks such as Twitter and Instagram students deem it necessary to be in tune with their friends latest status’ and picture updates. With these distractions, it is impossible for a student to pay attention if they are constantly worried about their cell phone notifications. From my personal experience, using a cell phone in class is not worth missing what could be an important part of the lesson. In high school, we were not allowed to bring cell phones to school but being rebellious I did it anyway. I was in class taking notes as my phone began vibrating; a few of my friends began texting me about plans for the night. The whole class period I found myself sneaking to reply to text messages and not caring about what the teacher had to say. I missed the whole lesson that day, and before the end of the class the teacher gave a pop quiz. Needless to say, I was not able to answer a single question correctly. So not only did I fail a pop quiz I also missed out on valuable information that could help me on the actual test. Cheating is also a negative effect of using cell phones in classrooms. With the use of smartphones and the Internet, a student can easily access answers to the test. There are many different ways students use mobile phones to cheat with one of the most prominent being taking pictures of notes and then using them on the test. If caught, many teachers give a failing grade and must report the student to the dean; often resulting in suspension or in some cases expulsion. Students may feel that since it is hard for faculty to track Internet usage that they can get away with it unless the teacher sees it; they feel they will not get caught. Text messaging is another form of cheating, as most phones now come equipped with a group-messaging feature. Group messaging allows up to ten people to chat at the same time. Students can form these groups and text each other answers to the test. Teachers have tried to stop this from happening by giving students different versions of the test; that way, all the questions are not the same cutting down on the amount of cheating students can accomplish. Overall, the use of cell phones in the classroom is not conducive to the learning environment. The devices cause distractions, disruptions, and also open the gateway to endless cheating possibilities. With technology changing rapidly, it will be interesting to see how teachers plan to stop the use of cellphones in the classroom within the next few years.

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