Infants dependent on a pacifier never wants to let it out of their sight. They cry in a panicked frenzy when it’s not visible or accessible to them.
The same is true for students’ dependency on technology, specifically cell phones. The majority of students feel comforted when their phones are at their fingertips and get stressed when they are not accessible.
One of my professors recently referred to students’ cell phones as their pacifiers. Even if students are not actively using their phones in class, most likely, they will be set on top of the desks for visibility or set on vibrate in their pockets so they can feel a notification.
The use of cell phones in the classroom is not just an ORU problem. It’s American epidemic. The improvements in technology have become a distraction in the classroom and are hindering students from learning. Some schools have banned the use of cell phones in the classroom.
“I think that each student should be able to use their phone if they want to,” junior psychology major Katie Fowler said. “If that means they aren’t paying attention, that’s their responsibility. They are adults, and if they don’t want to engage in the lecture, that will affect them in the long run.”
Scholastic.com agrees that schools should lift the ban as well saying that “students should be allowed to use cell phones for educational purposes.”
BenefitOf.net says the use of technology in the classroom “motivates students” and “provides easy access to information.” Students can find information quickly, allowing the teacher more time during the lesson.
NBC News did two studies to see if the use of technology gadgets were making people less intelligent. The first study found that “people who are interrupted by technology score 20 percent lower on a standard cognition test.”
The second study demonstrated that some students, even when on their best behavior, can’t concentrate on homework for more than two minutes without distracting themselves by using social media or writing an email.”
Students need to minimize distractions by putting their cell phones away during class. The continuous buzzing of notifications and text messages not only distracts the student from receiving the lesson, but affects the entire classroom setting. A distracted student disturbs the teacher from his or her lecture and other students from focusing on their work.
“I think it should be up to the teacher in the class. I see on one hand how having a cell phone would be useful for dealing with emergency situations, but I see on the other hand how 80 percent of students having their cell phones out would be a distraction to the teacher and other students. I tend [to lean] toward the no cell phones rule,” junior engineering major Brennan Harrup said.
Assistant Professor of Media Chris Putman informs her students on the first day of class that cell phones are not allowed. The only exception for phone usage would be for an emergency.
“It distracts me when I have to watch a student trying to hide the use when I’m lecturing,” Putman said. “They think if they sit on the back row, I can’t see them. In fact, the back row is the easiest for me to see.”
A student setting their cell phone aside for a brief period of time is a lot like a baby not being able to use its pacifier. The difference between the two, is that the baby will eventually grow out of the dependency on its pacifier, and students will continue to grow more dependent on using cell phones throughout their lives.
Although cell phones are beneficial in many ways, they are a proven distraction. It will increase performance levels and cause significantly fewer interruptions for everyone if you take a break. Don’t worry, your phone will be right where you left it after class.