Phones – Plus or Minus?

Mobile phones are everywhere. Are they a plus or a minus? It seems anyone young and old either have their own or are given one to use or play with. When considering its use with young people, it can create real problems. There is keeping up with the Jones’ – IPhone 5 > 6 > ?, there is the abusing of the ‘plan’ running up huge bills (if you aren’t smart enough to be on a prepaid plan), and let’s not forget the prevalence of misuse during class time!!

Yes my school, a High School, has a veto on using electronic devices in class, but every lesson sees students communicating via Facebook and texting with so and so or taking selfies. There is the constant response, “Put it away!” What about giving up on trying to get students to bring a calculator to maths? Just bring your phones everybody. I think they will be in trouble when it comes to doing algebra or any other higher maths though.

I wonder how it would work if the use of phones was incorporated into lessons more, such as photographic evidence for a task which could be emailed to the teacher for their assessment?? Ipods or playing music on phones and surreptitiously listening to it with those dangling growths (earphones) is another one of  those persistent annoyances. I have, however, had a rethink about music playing during class in particular circumstances. I work with students on the Autistic Spectrum and it is quite common for these students to need something to filter out distractions to allow them to focus better, or, as a way of calming themselves when they are stressed. So I have pulled back a bit with these students to see if they will work better, and not make their own (very loud) noise instead!

I suppose it will always be a bit of both – plus and minus. But maybe we could encourage students to use their phones in more useful ways, and trust them to do it. And remember, you tell a teenager NOT to do something, and they hear DO IT! Sorry for the stereotyping teenagers.



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