Slowly and carefully read through the two articles below on the subject of smartphone use in the classroom.
Once you have carefully read both articles, write a short essay (600-800 words) that answers the prompt below.
Should teachers ban/limit the use of smartphones in the classroom?
Your essay should include:
Submit your Essay for grading. Be mindful of the clock. I will not accept any essays past the 2 hour time limit or by email. Remember to do your best, as your grade on this will not change.
Also, remember that using any outside sources is forbidden and will result in a 0 on this assignment.
Article 1 :
Why we should ban kidsâ€ smartphone use in school
Banning smartphones in schools isnâ€t a plot to quash technology but a way to immerse young
students in the world of direct communication and physical reality.
Steve Koppman | March 12, 2019 |
France is implementing a smartphone ban in schools nationwide. England mandated a similar
ban after widespread local adoption. Israel too.
Maybe we should join them.
Studies demonstrate significantly improved academic performance follows removal of phones
from schools. Lower-achieving students benefit most, narrowing the â€œachievement gap.â€
Research finds U.S. teens â€” their minds still forming â€” average six to nine hours a day online.
Half tell researchers they are on phones â€œall the timeâ€ and half similarly feel â€œaddictedâ€
(smartphones stimulate addiction-generating dopamine). Many go to sleep and wake up with
them. Seventy-five percent of teachers surveyed assert student attention spans have dropped in
the last five years.
Is this not a crisis?
We have enough research data to know young peopleâ€s development benefits from time away
from an all-consuming internet, which absorbs attention and obstructs learning. Smartphones
impede studentsâ€ concentration and engagement with people in their presence â€” arguably
schoolsâ€ key purposes.
As James Steyer, a noted technology activist, puts it: â€œTech companies are conducting a massive
real-time experiment on our kids.â€
Learning to get along without digital media, to depend directly on themselves and each other
without electronic distraction several uninterrupted hours a day, could be the most important
training we can give our young people before sending them into an uncharted and potentially
uncontrollable technological future.
Banning smartphones in schools is NOT a Luddite plot to outlaw the devices or quash
technology but a way to immerse young students, for a big chunk of their early lives, in the
world of direct communication and physical reality. To benefit from what is inarguably great
about technology â€” potentials to improve health, increase longevity and alleviate disability, for
example â€” we need some control over it, including: Stop letting it bring up our kids.
The decisive question of our age will likely be: Will technology serve humanity or be its
uncontested master? Technological colonization of childrenâ€s minds from an early age seems
increasingly real. We can defend them best through public education.
Why do we have public schools? To give every young person a chance to learn and develop,
regardless of origins, social status, or family or personal problems. Ensuring children learn to
operate in long uninterrupted periods, independent of smartphones, the internet and social media,
is vital to this mission today.
No other institution can do this. Many kids get no other buffering from the electronic world.
Many parents are on smartphones constantly themselves. Schools can offer an oasis and
U.S. school phone policies vary all over the map by district, school and teacher. Policy closest to
the norm lets students bring phones to school but bars use in class. Students can â€œlegallyâ€ use
phones before and after class, at lunch, and during recess and (usually) â€œpassing periods.â€ They
may carry phones or store them in backpacks.
But phones create new classroom cultures. Many students check them furtively several times a
period. Classroom energy is drained as they do this, or consider it, while teachers keep repeating
themselves. Having phones available with these fluctuating rules creates â€œcat and mouseâ€
dynamics during classes and a return to smartphone-centered life when they break. Teachers
avoid sacrificing class time on â€œenforcementâ€ but phone use still typically is a top discipline
Alternatively, a thousand-plus schools nationally (including, in the Bay Area, San Lorenzo High
and El Cerritoâ€s Korematsu Middle School) have, like France, â€œbannedâ€ phones throughout the
school day, storing them in inaccessible lockers or â€œpouches,â€ and restoring access at 3 pm.
Adult testimony suggests this can make profound improvements in learning, class dynamics and
human relations. Surveys confirm most parents support removing smartphones from schools. If
boards and schools donâ€t act accordingly, voters and civic groups should launch local initiatives
on this issue so critical to our kids and our future.
Steve Koppman has worked as a government analyst at federal, state and local levels. He holds a
masterâ€s degree in public policy from UC Berkeley.
Why Professors Shouldnâ€t Ban Smartphones
Matthew Lynch – May 24, 2017;
The Edvocate Magazine
As smartphones have become more common, educators have struggled with the question of what
to do with smartphones in the classroom. For K-12 educators, the answer has been to ban
smartphones from the classroom completely. College professors have also banned smartphones
in increasing numbers. But now thereâ€s some evidence to suggest that banning smartphones in
the college classroom isnâ€t such a good idea.
study conducted by researchers in Singapore found that undergraduate students who were
allowed to keep their phones with them actually scored better on tasks that measured their
cognitive functioning. Even when they werenâ€t allowed to use their phones, students who were
allowed to keep their phones in their pockets performed better than students whose phones were
In this case, researchers theorized that the poor performance by students without phones was due
to a kind of smartphone withdrawal. When students had their phones taken away, they may have
been anxious about missing out on somethingâ€”a text message or friend request, for example.
This anxiety could take studentsâ€ minds off of what they should be learning.
Smartphones could have academic uses
While professors may be quick to ban smartphones, itâ€s rare to find a professor who doesnâ€t
allow laptops in the classroom. Most professors who allow laptops but not smartphones would
likely argue that laptops can be used to take notes or for other academic purposes. However, as
smartphones have become more powerful, they can do many of the same things.
Microsoft Office has long been the standard for productivity, and for years it was only available
on PCs. Today, many smartphones can run Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel,
and PowerPoint. Smartphone users can also find a wide variety of apps that replace old paper-
and-pencil methods. There are apps for note-taking and calendar apps that students can download
In some cases, smartphones are even better than laptops. In addition to being easier to carry
around, smartphones have features that laptops lack. Smartphones enable students to instantly
snap photos of anything the professor presents, such as charts, pictures, and diagrams that may
help them understand concepts when they study.
Smartphones are also a great tool for student who like to record lectures. Students no longer have
to carry around a recording deviceâ€”they already have one in their pocket. Listening to those
recorded lectures is a lot easier with a smartphone, too, since students are never far from their
Smartphones are always handy
The fact that students always have their smartphones with them actually makes their phones a
better tool. Anything that students save on their phone, whether itâ€s a recorded lecture, class
notes, or pictures, is accessible anytime.
Cloud-based apps, like Google Drive, have made it even easier for students to access information
on their phone. Students can store anything they want on the cloud using their phone, then go
home and review what they saved on a laptop or tablet.
Banning smartphones might be impossible
Any professor whoâ€s tried to ban smartphones can attest to the fact that it isnâ€t easy to get
students to give up their phones. There will inevitably be students who try to sneak their phones
in anyway or refuse to hand them over. This can lead to wasted class time, as professors are
forced to argue with students or impose consequences on those who refuse to comply.
Ultimately, trying to ban smartphones is nearly impossible. When it is possible, it can end up
taking up more time and effort than itâ€s really worth. After all, if college-aged students are so
distracted by their smartphones that they arenâ€t learning, it may be time for them to learn a lesson
about using technology appropriately in the form of a lower grade. Smartphones, like laptops, are
a toolâ€”they can be used for academic purposes or can be a detriment to learning. Itâ€s up to
students to find ways to use them correctly.
Can professors make smartphones a useful classroom tool, or are they too much of a distraction?
Tell us what you think
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