Putting Education Reform To The Test

Feedback Loop: Breaking The Cell Phone Addiction

Adam Deb / Flickr

Students want the ability to use smart phones in class. Teachers don't always agree.

Last week we told you about the giant temptation facing Florida students: Itchy texting fingers.

Many teachers and principals grew up without the devices.

But those who have lived their whole lives plugged in say they think about Facebook constantly. Students don’t like to be cut off from their phones during class.

A researcher argues kids are addicted and should be allowed to check their phones every 15 minutes to keep them focused on school work.

But many readers disagreed, including Eileen Thornton on Twitter:

Others dialed us up with their thoughts.

Tip is a college instructor who argues smart phones can enhance education, and that students should be trusted to use them for that purpose:

I teach freshmen and sophomores at a fine art college. My school has no policy against phones but several teachers have decided to collect all phones in a basket at the beginning of class or some other method of keeping phones out of students’ hands. I’m 31 years old; just old enough to have typed english papers on a typewriter in high school and just young enough to have “grown-up” with a computer in the house. I check my phone regularly and I think students should be able to as well. I multi-task on my phone and my students are better at it than I am. I’ve had honest conversations with them about cell phone use and have found that while, yes, a quick text to a friend or mom gets in there, mostly they are taking notes, looking up definitions of words in my lectures, taking photos of my lecture slides, entering due dates in their calendars, and looking up the artists and designers I’m referencing in our discussions. Smart phones are an incredible tool and I let my students use them as such.

Trenalg goes old school, telling us what’s wrong with schools these days:

One (of many) things wrong with the schools now is the willingness to cater to the students, instead of insisting on a disciplined, orderly, focused learning environment.  I believe kids should have to leave their cell phones off during classes.  If they are unwilling and are caught using the phone during class, the phone should be held for them by the teacher or in the office until after school that day, or at least should be put in their locker if they have one.  It’s rediculous to cater to kids’ distracting, entertaining obcessions.  School needs to be serious and focused.  There’s time for entertainment and socializing during lunch and recess breaks, after school, and on weekends…after homework and chores are finished!

Allison, a teacher, believes students aren’t driven to distraction if they know no texts or Facebook messages are waiting. Shut them all off, she says:

I work in a K-12 school. I check my own texts and facebook regularly. But if all students have to turn off their phones during class, then there won’t be any activity they need to check. I get that their curious who has said what or posted what in the last five minutes, but if they know that no one has posted anything, they won’t need to check, right? If everyone does it, and follows the same “code” it’s no longer a problem.

Reader reaction is an important part of building StateImpact Florida’s education coverage. Feedback Loop will be a regular feature highlighting your questions, criticisms and comments.


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