From the beginning of the mobile technology revolution, teachers have historically banned the use of smartphones, tablets and other devices in classrooms unless in special circumstances and under close supervision.
The drawbacks are obvious: Students can be distracted by mobile devices, or, worse yet, use them to cheat on important assignments. However, as of late, more educational institutions are embracing the use of smart devices, and one educator in Ohio thinks use of technology in the classroom is an essential key to a student's success, Forbes reported.
STEM educator pushes for technology in the classroom
Amanda Gillespie is a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educator and believes that use of mobile devices in the classroom can make all the difference.
Gillespie explained that she allows the use of mobile devices in the classroom because students already use their smartphones and other technology on a daily basis. Even many low income households who may not own computers have access to mobile devices like smartphones, putting all students on the same level.
Gillespie utilizes apps like Poll Everywhere, which enables students to use their mobile devices to answer questions in class through a text message.
“This especially helps the shy students gain confidence in their learning and start participating more in class,” Gillespie explained.
Barring electronic devices in the classroom
While the students may be reaping the benefits, Gillespie said the shift to mobile device use in the classroom has not been an easy one. Many older teachers consider the technology revolution as a passing fad, and oppose use of smartphones and other devices. In an effort to help combat this attitude, Gillespie has offered training on how to utilize mobile technology for education.
Despite the push in this direction, many educators still punish students who use their devices during class by confiscating them, or worse. USA Today Sports reported that a Nebraska coach reacted quite violently when one of his player's phones rang during a team meeting. When senior and defensive tackle Thad Randle's phone went off, Coach Bo Pelini took the phone and proceeded to smash it with a hammer. Upon seeing his expensive smartphone smashed to bits, Randle walked out in protest, as Pelini chased after him and the two began to fight.
Although this instance turned out to be a practical joke, one which Randle was in on, this is not the first report of a teacher becoming frustrated by a student using their cell phone in class.