Banning cellphones in schools will add to the quality and efficiency of education

Noah Fortson - Staff Writer, Photo courtesy of Google Images

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America’s rank in education is gradually trending downward. In a 2013 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) study, experts recognized America as the 21st of the 23 highest performing industrialized countries in education – an obvious decline in power considering the U.S. was once recognized as a haven for learning and opportunity. A variety of factors have contributed to the U.S.’s sudden decline in performance. Most flaws in the school system are difficult to mend and would take years to solve. However, there are a few bad habits the country’s students have adopted that can quickly be changed and that will make a positive difference in the overall productivity of American classrooms. Cellphones, in particular, are restricting the U.S. from regaining prominence in the field of education. Hand-held technology disrupts work, encourages cheating and mutes social interaction for students across the country.

Cellphones distract numerous students throughout the day. Countless lessons are missed and minutes are wasted while information seems to fly right over students’ heads. In competing regions like Japan, Britain, France and Scandinavia, phone use is limited on most campuses in order to promote a much more efficient system of learning. Technology has become a nuisance in the daily lives of young Americans. Its tight grip never lets go, which makes teens constantly worry about missing the latest trending gossip on social media sites. The fear of missing out, or FOMO, looms in a student’s thought process, forcing them to put their minds toward social media updates rather than learning.

“Cellphones have the ability to be an incredible learning tool when permitted in the classroom,” said junior Alex Barr. “When students are allowed to use them in the right way, phones can serve many beneficial educational purposes.”

Another rapidly growing issue with cellphones is the prospect of cheating on exams. Cheating in class has become a more accessible privilege for American teens. The Internet is a great source for finding information, and the opportunity to have a massive database at one’s fingertips within seconds is a temptation for students to cheat. But by using technology the right way, kids could avoid the trouble and the punishments accompanying cheating. If teens used their appliances to study and gather information prior to the exam rather than during, then a greater number of students would excel in class and become smarter, more productive assets to society. A cheater never wins.

“Students and their devices have become virtually inseparable,” said Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D, in an article posted on facultyfocus.com. “Points, grades, and most important of all, learning are at stake.”

Perhaps the biggest problem that has developed due to cellphone use at school is social interaction. In previous generations, students viewed school as a way of getting to know each other and form companionship. Yet today, in a “more advanced” time, the American youth is socially impaired. Kids seem to be glued to their phones, which prevents them from being outgoing and productive. When students do happen to speak to each other, the conversation typically consists of mindless comments about the latest idiotic post on a site or an application. The new era will probably never understand the beauty of conversation and sentimental friendship. Teens today may be carefree and consider themselves successful if they have a high Twitter follower ratio. But as far as having enough charisma to excel in the workplace, this generation is setting themselves up for failure.

Picture a high school reunion in 30 years. The room will be filled with socially awkward, unintelligent people who, most likely, will not even remember each other’s names because they spent too much time focused on social media rather than the importance of school and communication. But even if no one in the room remembers much or anything about the high school experience, it will be okay because anyone can always look it up on his or her phone.

Put down the phone in class.

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