Are cell phones disrupting or enhancing students’ classroom learning? This is the tough question facing many teachers and school administrators as this new and powerful technology has invaded classrooms. An even larger question for both parents and educators is: how is persistent use of cell phones affecting students’ social relations and self management?
This recent article in ASCD’s Education Update provides some good information and practical suggestions for managing the “beast” that is the cell phone that never leaves the hands of the teenager….
Taming the Screen Beast
Mobile devices can be a constant source of distraction in classrooms, especially for teenagers. These strategies can help them self-regulate (and restore your sanity).
English teacher Djana Trofimoff has noticed that students at Belton High School in Missouri are always connected to their phones, yet they are increasingly “stressed and disconnected” in the classroom. Beyond being a distraction from learning, a preoccupation with texting and social media is affecting their ability to empathize with one another.
Students are failing to “notice nuances of change in their peers’ behavior” that can be signs of distress, Trofimoff says. She hopes that banning cell phones is the way to bring students’ minds back to the classroom—and their friends.
“I’ve stopped thinking of students as people who simply make choices about whether to pay attention and started thinking of them as people trying to pay attention but having to complete with various influences,” Shirky wrote, “Multitasking is cognitively exhausting… Being asked to stop stop can come as a welcome change.”
“Rather than banning cell phones in classrooms where they’re becoming problematic, teachers can coach students to obsess less…”
EDUCATION UPDATE February, 2016, vol. 58, No. 2