Written by:  Krysta Ryan


Cell Phones in the Classroom? Technology & Learning

Public Schools in Cincinnati Adopt a BYOD-Bring Your Own Device to School

In Cincinnati Ohio, the Northwest Local School District has finally allowed technological devices in the classroom. The districts 2016-2017 school year will be the first year the Bring Your Own Device Policy or BYOD will be implemented.  Historically, schools have banned the use of personal electronics on school property. Educators have long supported the banning of personal technology in the classroom. A majority believe that all devices are a distraction to learning and will create interruptions in the schools learning agenda. Many school districts have realized cellphone technology is here to stay and has become a vital communication tool in the 21st Century.  

There is optimism among the teachers and students that by having access to the internet for research and learning will aid in the overall learning experience. Supporters also suggest that by allowing devices and technology in the classroom will provide students with valuable skills to function in the digital world. Although students have been using cell phones consistently in their daily lives for almost a decade, many public schools continue to resist allowing the devices into the classroom

        Liz Kolb, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Education and author of Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education, writes

“more schools are embracing the digital tidal wave of technology as part of everyday life for students.”

Kolb points to some schools across the country have been adopted new straightforward rules and guidelines. Policies designed to meet the needs of students while addressing educators’ concerns.  Kolb goes on to explain,

 “it’s hard to fight the tidal wave…so many students have cell phones.”

In fact, Amanda Lenhart the Senior Research Scientist for the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and worked on a study for the Pew Research Center detailing how teens and families use technology.

Lenhart reports that 56 percent of children, age 8 to 12, have a cell phone and 88 percent of teenagers, ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a cell phone.

 Educators have realized that students living in the 21st century are digitally fluent and fighting these technologies have driven societal change to be counterproductive. Instead, converging digital devices using the educational curriculum in a school setting seems to be the growing trend. Proponents suggest that by allowing personal devices on school property, interruptions, device thefts and cyberbullying would increase. On the other hand, introducing device usage in a structured setting would ensure that our youngest citizens are developing healthy and appropriate digital literacy skills.      

Schools across the country have already lifted bans on digital devices in hopes of giving students access to information in ways that traditional books cannot provide.  While the internet increases access to learning materials through the school’s buildings WIFI systems, monitoring the exact material being searched and accessed will remain an ongoing issue. Another concern for both educators and parents are the issues involving social media websites and worry these environments online fuel cyberbullying and other issues that cause long lasting emotional issues.

Thomas J. Billitteri a freelance journalist from Pennsylvania, with more 30 years’ experience covering business, nonprofit institutions and related topics and he wrote an article for CQ Researcher discussing the growing problems with cyberbullying. In the report Billitteri reported that cyberbullying affects millions of adolescents and young adults, affecting girls more than boys, especially in the earlier grades. With the technology, available today many phones have capabilities that pose another threat to the learning environment, camera usage and the abilities for students to use real-time broadcasting.

References

Billitteri, T. J. (2008, May 2). Cyberbullying. CQ Researcher, 18, 385-408. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/

Kiema, Kinjo. (2016, August 31). As Schools Lift Bans on Cell Phones, Educators Weigh Pros andCons. Retrieved http://neatoday.org/2015/02/23/school-cell-phone-bans-end- educators-weigh -pros-cons/

Lenhart, A. (2015, April 09). A Majority of American Teens Report Access to a Computer, Game Console, Smartphone and a Tablet. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/ a-majority -of- american-teens-report-access-to-a-computer-game-console-smartphone-and-a-tablet/

 Teens and Mobile Phones. (2010, April 19). Pew Research Center Retrieved March 27, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/04/20/teens-and-mobile-phones-3/#