It’s been an issue in schools, colleges, and universities across the country for quite some time. In fact, cellular phones were an early problem when students were distracted by phone calls and texts messaging, but now smartphones can do just about anything your computer or laptop can, but in an easily concealable handheld device. According to an article posted in Trends in Ed, 50% of students own smartphones. The use of phones is usually discouraged on the first day of class by teachers and professors, or talked about in the class syllabus with consequences for even the first infraction. After all, since smartphones pretty much allow you to do anything you want these days, having them in the classroom might be distracting students more than ever.
Smartphones allow students to text, check, and interact on social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, check their e-mails, play games online, and even watch TV. This is extremely distracting for not only the student (because they are obviously not paying attention), but can also become distracting for other students around them. If a professor or teacher has to stop their lecture or instruction to ask a student to turn off their phone, it is also distracting the entire class.
In addition, while it wouldn’t be particularly easy for students to make calls during exams to cheat on tests, it can be fairly easy for students in a packed or crowded classroom or lecture hall to use their phones to access information online to cheat on tests. In fact, an article posted in Phone Arena showed some startling statistics about the use of smartphones for cheating in the classroom. This could be through the use of text exchanges with other students, using the Internet to find answers, using advanced calculators and phone applications, taking snapshots of an exam, or reading notes that are saved on the phone to help on the test.
Most smartphones are also equipped with abilities to shoot video and take pictures. This means that anything that goes on in the classroom can easily be recorded by a student and immediately uploaded to Youtube, or any other site where video and filing sharing is allowed. This could be an invasion of a classmate’s or professor’s privacy, as they probably would not be notified that the video was shared on an online website.
Finally, smartphones can encourage bullying and hazing. Bullying and hazing are very serious problems in schools across the U.S. As mentioned before, most smartphones do come equipped with camera and video technology, which can be used to videotape and photograph bullying and hazing. Because many of the students who encourage and enjoy bullying and hazing likely want to show what they have done to other students, they can use their smartphones to videotape incidents to ridicule the person they targeted.
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