Are phones hurting kids during school even if they are used for school purposes? Tests have been done and shown that phones have contributed in failing grades for many middle and high school students. These tests were done with two groups of Rutger students. To test if phones had an effect on students, Mr. Kang, a teacher, created an experiment that lasted throughout a semester. Another problem phones cause is an increase in kids cheating on tests. Having access to phones in school allows students to download apps such as Photomath, HwPic, Socratic, etc. These tools help kids answer questions to tests. These apps were originally used to help kids with homework but ended up as a tool used to cheat.
Academy at the Lakes instructors see these problems directly in their classrooms. Middle Division science teacher Mrs. McCormick has seen huge changes in the 17 years she has been teaching. She is a teacher who uses technology to teach her science class every day. She said, “when I first started teaching, I used an overhead [projector].” An overhead was used a long time ago instead of a touchscreen TV. When she had this, kids weren’t using as much technology. She also mentioned that she has seen student grades drop in the homework category for report cards. Mrs. McCormick strongly believes that technology helps to enhance learning, but can also hurt the kids academically.
Ms. Ivie, a Middle Division math teacher, uses some technology in her class. This will be her 25th year teaching math. Just like Mrs. McCormick, Ms. Ivie used an overhead when she first started teaching. She says she would love to look into more online math tools, but math is mainly pencil and paper. The only problem with these tools is that you don’t learn how to do it the old fashion way. She also said “the only thing I don’t like about technology in the classroom is that kids get too many notifications. These notifications would probably more interesting than math.” She believes that with the growth of technology, the students get more and more distracted during class. In conclusion, Ms. Ivie admires technology in class to some extent but is still searching for more learning options.
Another teacher who recognized some of the same problems was the Middle Division language arts teacher, Ms. Nadow. She has taught at Academy for 12 years and used technology for the past couple of years in her classes. She believes that AATL deals with kids getting distracted by their phones in a healthy way, but still, she sees some distraction with laptops during class. Ms. Nadow said, “ I maybe only get one student a year that is penalized academically for an infraction due to technology.” She tries to limit this by making the kid’s laptop screens always face her and have assigned seating if needed. She says these methods have worked pretty well so far. She is still looking for new ways to use technology without it penalizing kids in class.
Overall, teachers who use technology constantly in class always have a little fear of it hurting the kids, but to them, it’s worth the benefits. With technology advancing and new items coming out, it will always cause greater use of technology in class. This can be in both a beneficial and a non-beneficial way. All teachers using technology should be mindful of the positive and negative effects.
Do you feel like phones distract kids in school or do you feel it’s more helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!