The tech policy here is very progressive compared to other schools. We should consider ourselves lucky. However, certain teachers here have strict no-technology rules in their classrooms that go beyond school policy. It’s the end of class, the room fills with senseless chatter, students congregate at the door.
But, apparently, the no-tech rule still applies. No, the bell hasn’t rung yet, but class is over. Instructional time is over. By going on my phone, I’m not interrupting my learning or that of others. There’s no learning going on to be interrupted–the teacher’s over in the corner on the computer.
Ironic, huh? And, amidst the chaos in the minutes leading up to the bell, I’m spotted, caught in the act, reading A Tale of Two Cities on my phone to the sweet tunes of The Who. What a delinquent. Nevermind the kid who’s getting verbally abused over there, or those freshman drawing genitalia on the wall with Sharpie. Now, I’ll be the first to say we depend way too much on technology, but it is key in growth and development, for children and adults alike. Tech devices propel the process of learning, and the internet radiates knowledge and ideas throughout the globe. Yes, people abuse and take for granted these glorious resources, with their temple run and instagram obsessions, but teachers seldom acknowledge just how full the internet is of intellectual fodder as well.
The majority of students use computers every day, in at least 3 or 4 classes. This makes it easier to keep organized notes and creates a laid-back discussion environment where anything can be clarified with the magic of Google. Tenth grader Olivia comments, “If the teacher uses a word I don’t know, I can find the definition in seconds. We may drift off-task or check email now and then, but teenagers are the ultimate multi-taskers–we have a lot of practice.
” While I can respect how the no-phones/music-players-in-the-classroom rule could benefit students, sometimes it goes just a bit too far. Biology teacher Mr. Lyke does not acknowledge phones as educational resources, and calls them “distractors”. Newsweek article iCrazy studies addiction to technology, and inspired Lyke to implicate a strict no-tech policy in his room. He defends his classroom policy, “People can become addicted–it becomes compulsive.
” While this is true for some, it is in fact possible for a teen to have self control. This ludacris attitude toward technology stifles student productivity. Technically, students are only allowed to use their phones in the hallways between classes. But why shouldn’t I take advantage of the three extra minutes at the end of Bio to snap a picture of the diagram on the board, or revise my english paper on my phone? If I were to do this in a physical notebook, I would be commended for my dedication to my education. When it comes to confiscating cell phones for texting during class, I’m with them all the way.
Teenagers glued to their phones in class are not productive at all, and contribute nothing to society other than promoting the teenage stereotype. Do you really need to know what color Courtney is painting her toenails this weekend, in the middle of Algebra? It’s dregs of society like these who instill fear of technology in teachers, leading them to distrust it and the honest students using tech devices wisely and responsibly to benefit their education. But, who would approve of using phones in class when all they’ve seen is Ryan tweeting that he’s eating a sandwich, then instagram-ing it, or Kyle beating his latest high score in doodle jump? I love doodle jump as much as the next procrastinating high-schooler, but teens need to step up and demonstrate we are not all tech-junkie burnouts. Yes, I know, cats are hilarious, but do you really need to go on Youtube during a lecture? Maybe if we didn’t goof off, we would be allowed to use our phones in class. We need to at least maintain some level of respect for our education, if not for our teachers.
We need to prove that technology doesn’t have to corrupt the classroom. That being said, teachers need to step up as well and accept technology as a tool, as a resource, as a means of connecting as well as learning. Teachers and students are becoming more and more like equals, as it should be, and we need to meet in the middle.