A growing issue in today’s classrooms is the use of technology by the student body. Cell phones have become commonplace on campus, basically everyone owns one.
Students feel the need to be so linked to the world that some tend to use their cell phones during class times. This is a “distraction” to the student and their peers, often resulting in strict “no cell phone in the classroom” policies.
I do not believe that the current practice of calling a student out on using their cell phone is an effective way of stopping cell phone use in class. A professor saying, “Is there something you would like to share with the class?” is not likely going to stop the student from using their phone again in later on.
Cell phone use should be kept to a minimum, but if the impulse arises where the student feels the need to use their phone, as long as it does not distract their peers, the use should be allowed. It would then be the student’s choice alone to become disengaged from the lecture, with the risk of falling behind in the material they chose to ignore. A penalty for using a cell phone could be implemented where the student loses a certain number of participation points for every time they check and use their cell phones.
A study by Russell B. Clayton in the Journal of Computer- Mediated Communication on the cognitive ability of students who were separated from their cell phones showed the adverse effects of strict cell phone confiscation policies.
Clayton’s study found “that the inability to answer one’s iPhone while it was ringing activated the aversive motivational system (increases in heart rate and unpleasantness), and also led to a decline in cognitive performance.”
Clayton likewise found that, in addition, “physiological levels of anxiety (blood pressure) increased in response to iPhone separation.”
I do not believe that cell phones should be banished completely from the classroom, as they have grown to be an integral part of many students’ lives.
According to Clayton’s research, it seems clear that taking students’ phones away from them is not beneficial to the learning environment, so a happy medium must be found. The medium would integrate cell phones into the classroom without making them a distraction from the task.