Should Cell Phones Be Banned From the Classroom?

In this week’s debate, our #ECI830 class discussed if cellphones should be banned from the classroom. It was an especially important topic this week, because this was the debate topic that my partner Skyler and I chose to debate about.

We both agreed that cellphones should not be banned from the classroom, and here is why… 

Agree

Before we discuss our viewpoints on why cellphones should not be banned from the classroom, we want to acknowledge the great work that our opponents Jill and Tarina did.  They brought up a lot of valid arguments as to why cellphones should be banned from the classroom, including:

  1. Cellphones are Distractions
  2. School Devices are Safer
  3. Cellphones increase negative behavior 
  4. Detachment from Personal Device 

As a rebuttal to these reasons we stated that: 

  1. Distractions are still going to take place in the classroom whether this is on cellphone or otherwise.  We are living in a society where we are pushing for people to collaborate with each other in order to problem solve. A student who is not focused in the classroom will find a method to be distracted, regardless if we ban cellphones or not.   
  1. When looking at how cellphones increase negative behavior, this type of behavior such as cyber bullying can include on other types of devices such as iPad and even school Chromebooks.  By not allowing cellphones into the classroom we do not give students the opportunity to learn how to properly engage with them. A classroom is a safe space, where students can make mistakes and learn from them.   

3. So here is the solution, teach students how to use cellphones positively for educational purposes. This would also strengthen the relationships with students.  Not only is it our job as educator to teach the curriculum, but it is also important for us to teach the hidden curriculum. We need to teach digital citizenship to students so they are able to interact appropriately and effectively in the digital world.  Cause lets face it, we are currently living in a digital world. 

Disagree

DON’T MAKE A BAN, HAVE A PLAN

To begin, the first problem with the question “Should cellphones be banned from the classroom” was that we disagreed with the terminology of the word ban.  We felt as though banning cellphones was only trying to eliminate a problem, rather than solving the problem.  Instead, we support the term restricted.  One of the methods that we discussed to do this involved the stoplight method. What is funny is that before we had the opportunity to discuss this method, Alec was already ahead of us, sharing his own experiences of it in classrooms. During the conversation, Michala also pointed out at the school she teaches at, she finds that cellphones have given students a place to communicate and connect.  

Other points that we had to encourage the use of cellphones in the classroom are:

  • Medical Situations
  • Emergency Situations 
  • Educational Purposes 
  • Special Needs 
  • Digital Citizenship 

Watch the video for more explanations behind these points that support cellphone use in the classroom.

In conclusion, what should take place in classrooms are restrictions not bans on cellphone use.   During our research, we came across an article regarding thee Dr. Alec Couros, and his experience over the years of watching schools implement a  “bring-your-own-device” policy to fill in gaps and encourage more responsibility.  To ban cellphones is to put students’ lives at risk, limit the abilities of students with special needs, rob students of engaging and purposely learning experiences and leave students unprepared to live in an ever-evolving technological global world. 

Understanding skills related to how to act appropriately around other people face to face such as being polite, kind,and fair are just as important for students to understand when communicating in a digital setting.  According to common sense media teens spend an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes on their phones and tweens those aged 8-12 are not far behind.  This is why rather than banning cellphones from the classroom, we need to allow them in the classroom where we can teach students how to use them appropriately. As educators it is our job to educate students how to properly use cellphones, in a safe space, where they aren’t afraid to make a mistake and where they can learn vital life skills that will help them to be successful in today’s digital age. 

To conclude, we are disagree to a ban of cellphones in the classroom, but agree that there do need to be restrictions of cellphone use in the classroom that are monitored by the teacher.   Don’t make a ban, have a plan!

You can check out the results of this debate found on Skyler’s post.

7 thoughts on “Should Cell Phones Be Banned From the Classroom?”

  1. I loved “Have a Plan, Not a Ban!” Could not agree more. I remember when smart phones first came out. I did not have but I remember a pivotal moment in a Science experiment when my students were building rockets and we were measuring distance and speed. My old timer was not the most effective but one of my students happened to mention he had his phone to record the experiments. That was a game changer. The timer was on the video. We could go back and look and record observations. From there on in, I welcomed cellphones in the classroom but as a tool. I had a lot of farm students as well and it was quick and easy for them to get a hold of their parents if they needed to stay after school, etc. We have come a long ways since then. And I am definitely not an expert (usually they are teaching me). I definitely am using a lot of the things mentioned in this debate and am going to have a FORMAL plan this year with all your ideas! This was a great debate! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The point you made ‘ This is why rather than banning cellphones from the classroom, we need to allow them in the classroom where we can teach students how to use them appropriately.’ is crucial to how cell phones can become a powerful tool. There are so many inconsistencies with teacher policy in their class that students don’t have a clue what’s appropriate or not. You have bans to free falls going on from one class to the next. I’m not sure if it is possible but it would be great to have a common message and common guidelines from class to class.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alyssa,
    Thank you for sharing in last week’s debate! I am really starting to feel grateful for the people whom argue with the points I think that I believe – because they come with the reading and the research to help me make sure my opinion is actually informed. I think Digital Citizenship is absolutely linked to your argument and I am so glad that you and Skyler both found a catchy way to communicate that! (Like Lisa, I really enjoyed that catch phrase!).

    Like

  4. Thank you for your kind comment, I’m glad you found the information useful! I could not agree more that digital citizenship is becoming more and more important in today’s digital age.

    Like

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