Phones in Schools
Technology has taken over the past 40 years. 25 years ago, it was considered a novelty to have a single computer in a classroom. Now, students find themselves monopolized by the ability to be on their phones more overall, on their phones in the hallways, at lunch, and sometimes even in class.
In 1974, the first computers were introduced at Atholton. In 2013, HCPSS announced that the cellphone-toting high school students of Howard County would be allowed to use cell phones and other electronic devices during hallway transitions and lunch, after several years of restrictions against cell phones during the school day. This provided a larger outlet to students than just communication. With the development of smartphones, we are no longer talking just using computers in class. Now, there are more apps like Quizlet Live and Kahoot geared directly toward high school students that are being used in the classroom.
Students also tend to use their phones for social purposes during instructional time, even though that has been expressly banned. But teachers also find themselves using technology more and more, with the addition of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy.
“What’s really nice with technology is with like Canvas and Synergy, you can send emails and notices to all of your students at once, you can send it to all of the parents at the same time,” said Mr. Stuppy, an English teacher.
This has been very helpful in classes because it allows for students to be more independent. It also allows for a greater margin of communication within the school system.
Take math classes, for example. In the past, students would have been forced to seek help from tutors or large math books. Today, teachers can use YouTube tutorials in order to offer assistance to students, as well as a note-taking strategy to avoid long lectures.
“There are a variety of websites that I integrate into my lesson plans and they are purposeful.”, said Mrs. Carr-Spence, a math analysis teacher. “The graphics keeps my students engaged and it allows them to see some applications. I also select videos so the students can use them as a resource to prepare for assessments.”
Communication has become a huge part of this new policy. Now, instead of having to wait until the next day to ask teachers about the homework, students are able to shoot out an email to the teacher, asking, “How do I solve this problem?”
As technology continues to grow, the usage of it in the classroom will continue to grow, and more and more teachers can utilize what is being offered.
“I certainly like to have the flexibility of it,” Mr. Stuppy stated. “I don’t think my classroom depends on it.”
The uniqueness of the 21st century is that new technology is being invented everyday. Whether it’s smartboards, hologram teachers, or robotic homework helpers, it’s impossible to say what the future will hold for classrooms in the digital age.