Cell Phones: Bane or Boon in the Classroom

It cannot be denied that a cell phone is a common thing among elementary pupils. As observed, school children have more time manipulating their cell phones rather than reading their books and answering their assignments. According to some teachers, cell phones can bring great disruptions in the classroom. From replying to text messages, moving around the room, to lessons interjected by ringtones, and peeping at phones to share non-sense jokes with classmates.

These gadgets are responsible for nationwide frustration among Philippine educators.  The problem is intensified by pupils who utilize their cellular phones to engage in cheating during examinations or annoy other pupils during class hours. These disturbances are certain disruptions to an effective teaching and learning process.

The use of cellular phones inside the classroom has been a hot issue in many educational debates. Most of us think that it is the worst gadget a pupil could possess since it is more disadvantageous for a pupil to own one. In the contrary, there is a rising concept among education catalysts, education leaders, and innovators that cell phones just do not bring detriments. There a developing concept to use these small handsets in education for its benefits.

In this article, I would like to share some ways and instances that the use of cellular phones is of great potential in the classroom. These ways will let you see that the practice of using cell phones does not pose a threat to the learning process but rather it could become an engaging and interesting tool in teaching.

First, cell phones allow users to take photos and capture videos. These features of cell phones can be used effectively in carrying out your science lessons. Take this as an example, a teacher can let the pupils take pictures of their data found in a biological nature walk, or record through video that they have realistically conducted the activities.

During the group presentation, their data could be transferred to a computer and would be projected in a monitor. Reporting is done differently from the typical way. Meaningful learning takes place on the part of the learner and assessment by the teacher is made easier. This is very timely, since most schools in the Division of Malaybalay have received their ICT equipment.

Second, smart phones nowadays are able to download applications on the web. Educational friendly Apps like Webster dictionaries with pronunciation guide, Math Interactive Games, Math Lab, Science E-lab and even Bible App are available and easy to download in the net. These applications will provide much better learning environment without sacrificing any of the key educational tools necessary to provide a quality learning environment.

Being connected to the World Wide Web is an edge for schools to extend learning outside the four walls of the classroom. Cell phones can connect to the internet using a Wi-Fi system. This would allow children to surf the net with their assignments, projects and answers to their ultimate questions about class lessons.

Finally, although a cell phone is not the best device for surfing, it is the most portable gadget to access information from the net quickly.

Cell phones are amazing tools that our pupils already have in their possessions. Let us strategize worthwhile things from an existing problem. When used properly, and with the proper safeguard, cell phone can become teachers’ and learners’ partner in carrying out classroom tasks following particular standards or policies set by the school administration, the teachers, the parents, the pupils and other stakeholders in education.

You may innovate and design your own way of utilizing cell phones in classroom instruction.

By: Nyms M. Docdocil
      TI, San Roque ES