Should children be using Smart Phones in the classroom?


In many schools, phones are considered disruptive. Students hide them under their desk or between the pages of a textbook and use them as a way to ignore the valuable knowledge instead of absorbing the learning that they are surrounded with.

But with smartphones being such an integral part of society today, should we be looking at ways to integrate them into the lessons we teach our children? Could they be useful?
Perhaps you remember your teachers lecturing you on the use of technology when you were at school.

Do you remember your maths lessons? Do you recall being told, “you won’t have a calculator everywhere you go”? The truth is, we do now have calculators everywhere we go. But it isn’t just calculators, it’s the internet, cameras, our files, our emails…

Children on Phones

Smartphones have become essential for business use. Adults are working from them all over the world and they are staying connected at all times. If we neglect to teach our children how to utilize their phones for business purposes, are we failing to prepare them for the outside world and for working life?

Smartphones had just started to become widely available towards the end of my education and we increasingly saw more uses for them in the classroom.

Forget rushing to handwrite notes, we’d just take a picture of the whiteboard and rewrite them later. We didn’t need to carry around huge textbooks anymore, we could just download the books to our phones and access them on the go.

It could be argued that phones would be less disruptive if they were openly accessible. Children may be less likely to text and play games during lessons if they had the ability to do this during break times and between classes. Isn’t half the fun of being naughty, knowing you will get into trouble if you get caught? Make it okay and it isn’t fun anymore.

In the office

It may also provide young adults with a better idea of the etiquette of using a smartphone for business purposes and when and how to use them in an office environment.

At RLR HQ we are very open-minded to the use of smartphones for business purposes and we remain up to date with our social media channels, but even we have had some members of staff who struggled with etiquette and how to use their phones appropriately during office hours. I think, if we can educate the newest generation properly, employers in the future may also encounter less of these issues.

There are, of course, negative implications of allowing phones during school hours.
There has been a dramatic increase in the levels of cyberbullying since the introduction of smartphones to children, and it is still extremely difficult to tackle. Teachers argue that it is not their place to intervene on children’s behaviors outside of school despite the bullies being members of the same school and the devastating effects it has on the victim.

Social media has also been known to have negative effects on children’s mental health.
Could it be argued though, that the key to addressing the above issues is better education?

On their phones

Think of how useful phones could be in the classroom and for the purpose of learning.

-          Audiobooks – children learn in different ways, some prefer to read and others prefer to listen. Why not offer them the option?

-          Keep your notes with you – with Google drive and other apps, you can keep copies of your notes with you at all times. If you struggle to remember what was said during the last lesson, just turn back to your notes for a recap.

-          Taking pictures of the whiteboard – this isn’t ground-breaking, taking notes of the whiteboard is a great way to ensure you have everything you need. This is especially helpful if you write slowly or have learning difficulties like dyslexia.

-          Digital copies of textbooks – you don’t need to have your physical, and very heavy, textbook with you wherever you go.

-          Lesson recordings – in universities it is common for teachers to record each lesson and post the recordings on the intranet for students to look back on. This is especially helpful if you’ve missed a lesson.

-          Accessing revision materials on the internet.

They could be extremely useful and I think we should begin to embrace them. Children are already using their smartphones in every other aspect of their lives and once they grow and enter the world of work, they will discover that smartphones will play an important part in their working lives.