San Benito Lifestyle

Cell phones: learning tool or classroom distraction?

Opinions are mixed about the potential benefits of smartphones in school

Cell phones are something that it seems almost every person owns. They are widely used to communicate with friends, family, and to keep up with all the social media and worldwide news. However, cell phones are not typically used as a learning tool in a classroom. Some schools allow cell phone usage during classroom instruction, but it is still not a widely-used tool, especially at San Benito High School.

Some people might agree with using cell phones in a classroom while others might complete disregard the idea. For example, SBHS Curriculum Director Cindi Krokower discussed the pluses and minuses of using cell phones in a learning environment. For example, a benefit of cell phones is that they allow “instant access to information (Web searches for primary source documents, recent news), and tools (calculators, graphing, and dictionaries),” she said. Using cell phones could also reduce the issue of students forgetting instructional materials. “For me, having my cell phone means I have my calendar (planner/schedule), all the projects I’m working on, my calculator and a novel to read all in one easy-to-carry device,” Krokower said.

Also, many students are  fluent in cell phone usage so it could make their learning experience quicker and more efficient.

Some cons to cellphones, Krokower said, are that students are “Easily distracted by social media,” and “some students use social media for harassment and bullying or just being plain mean.” Other than the fact that cell phones are sometimes used in improper ways, there is also the fact that not every student has a smartphone to use.

Krokower said that she would consider allowing students to use their cell phones for educational purposes and that she would be “thrilled if every student has access to a smartphone, tablet, Chromebook or laptop to use all day, every day.”

Although some believe cell phone use in a classroom environment could be a positive addition to the curriculum, there is some debate as to whether cell phones should be used for educational purposes.

Asked if cell phones should be used in classrooms, SBHS junior Brianna Ventura said, “No, it’s just going to get the students distracted and we are probably not going to listen to the teacher if we’re on our phones.”

Junior Emma Bianchi, agreed, saying, “Honestly, no, because when students are given the ability to be on their phones for research when the teacher allows them to, they abuse the policy. Students typically go on social media or just text their friends. Given, there are some students who abide by what the teacher asks and they will use their phone for academic purposes. But  I feel like the policy would just get abused by students.”

Senior Celeste Alvarez, however, said that cell phones should be used in the learning environment because the devices can “help students research information that you can’t gather from a textbook as easily. Also, working with a cell phone is easier because I know how to use a cell phone to look up stuff.”

Monica Ocampo