Should I allow smart phones in my classroom?

Hey everyone,

On one of my recent practicums, my mentor teacher had a ‘phone box’ where they would demand every student to place their devices in it before class started. The students weren’t allowed them back until the end. This seemed to work well for this teacher’s purposes, but I have heard a lot of discussion about this in the news. Some organisations completely ban them from the classroom, yet other schools use them within their pedagogical strategy. As a early-career teacher, what should my stance be about using smartphones in class?

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Hey there!

Smart phones in the classroom are certainly becoming a heated topic among educators. Some schools have put a heavy ban on outside devices, while other so called ‘progressives’ implement them into their pedagogical strategy. This does make things hard for young teachers however, that often feel in the middle of a whirlwind. Whose side do they take?

At PRAC-E Symposium III, our expert panel discussed this topic in quite a lot of detail. Their ideas were really valuable to the pre-service teachers in the audience.

To hear their views watch the video below, or listen on the podcast below:

SUMMARY

  • Teachers should be really excited about what technology can bring to the classroom.
  • Technology should be set up to not be a gimmick. It should not be distracting. It should be collaborative and engaging.
  • Kids can be obsessed and addicted to their phones, so why not use it in your favor? You could use something like Google Classroom, to take advantage of their devices.
  • In the modern age also, you can’t go too nuts about students having a cheeky look to see if they have any texts. Just try to make sure they’re engaged as much as possible.
  • You can even implement it into assessment, and make the students use their phones responsibly. That takes away the ‘us vs. them’ mentality.

This is a great question and is an issue that has received a great deal of attention in recent weeks. I have responded to this question via my LinkedIn blog that can be accessed here:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/develop-culture-self-efficacy-opposed-banning-devices-anna-kinnane/
In summary, banning devices is not the answer. Self efficacy needs to be taught and our teachers need to be supported to develop and consolidate their digital pedagogy so that the technology including smart phones, can be used effectively in teaching and learning.

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