For years, the smart phone’s prevalence in our lives has increased so dramatically, that it’s existence in the classroom is now practically ubiquitous. However, whether teachers choose to use this to their advantage, or banish them to a box at the back of the class, is a very different story. We took a look at the pros and cons of using smart phones in the classroom so you can make an informed decision before you implement a BYOD initiative for your next lesson.
So what are the reasons for opening your arms wide and welcoming this piece of technology wholeheartedly into your lessons? In short, it’s the vast advances in technology that have seen our phones move from bulky communication devices with little classroom functionality, to powerful and engaging tools for our students.
Here's 3 reasons why you should give it a go:
1. They are inherently engaging and interesting for students. We’re sure that many students would be the first to admit they would be lost without their mobile phones, and they have gradually come to rely on these for more and more of their everyday life. If this can be used to the teachers’ advantage to get students to engage with their learning, hold their attention, and gift them with practice that can be taken beyond the classroom, then give it a go - Make the learning experience more immersive today!
2. The wealth of Educational Apps available The App store, Google Play and Windows Store are fantastic places to find a variety of resources that could be perfect for supplementary learning. We have spoken about the benefit of these before, and we are sure that allowing students to be playing on their phones is a sure fire way to get them all involved, and inject an element of fun into their learning process.
3. It ensures modernity in the classroom. Nobody wants their lessons to become dated, and as educators, we have a duty to ensure that we are encouraging progression, to keep up to date with innovation in the Education Industry, and pass this beacon on to our students. With the Creative Industries being the fastest-growing in the UK, introducing technology into our classrooms is not something that we can afford to ignore.
Attempts to remove the mobile completely from the classroom may be considered futile by many, but the insidious appearance of it in the classroom cannot be ignored for some justifiable reasons.
3 reasons to give it a miss:
1. By allowing mobile devices into the classroom, there is always the chance of increasing the likelihood of bullying. Whether this is between students through the presence of social media, or directed towards the teacher through inappropriate photos, messages or comments, this is something that cannot be tolerated, and must be addressed if you choose to use mobiles in your lesson.
2. By bringing these devices into the classroom, you are essentially giving them free rein to make use of their mobiles in any way they want whilst your back is turned. Even the most well-behaved students are suddenly given the green light to sit with their phone between their hands, and will undoubtedly not be able to resist the urge to check their feed.
3. It’s not tailored to your lesson. You can spend hours meticulously planning your lessons to cover all the relevant material in a clear and concise way, only to find that the part where you allow your students to put their knowledge into action by practising on apps, lets you down by being the wrong level, too time-consuming, or not the best way to help consolidate learning.
Whatever your stance, there are clear advantages and disadvantages to the two sides of the coin. Despite this, we really believe that with clear guidelines and expectations for the students, and a no tolerance policy to bullying or using social media, mobile phones really can have a worthy place in our classrooms.