As a teacher, I love the fact that my students are all carrying the 21st Century Swiss Army Knife…the smartphone.
The internet ought to be a teacher’s best friend. When I was in school there wasn’t a single computer in the classroom, let alone one in every pocket. Today students have access to the web, all their documents, spreadsheets & presentations, in addition to a camera, their photos and all their favorite apps.
I had Discovery High School take a survey this week. 98 students took the two-question survey out of our 170 students. The results were not what I thought they would be. According to the polled student body, information is what they love most about having a smartphone.
When asked what they utilize most on their smartphones, the browser was the clear answer with 42% of the votes. “There’s an instant answer to any question…it’s right there in your pocket,” explained senior Will Kennedy.
Most students I spoke to outside the survey put an emphasis on the convenience of the information. “I like the tools it provides,” added senior Gray Williams. “Google will answer any question I have as soon as I have it.”
In addition to what they use the most, they were asked to complete the sentence, “My smartphone is…” and the results went hand-in-hand with the initial question. 66% of the students finished that sentence with the answer “a tool”. A much smaller percentage saw their phones as a “distraction” or as a “toy”.
When these devices are forbidden they become a temptation, and one that is not applicable for school. However, once teachers learn to utilize smartphones as tools in their classrooms they will find that students are engaged and on task.
Most smart phones are capable of fairly robust tasks. They can be used for research, to produce products, and to satisfy the curious student hungry for knowledge.
“It’s just so convenient,” said senior Nick Fasanello, “Everything is put together as one. I can research quickly and continue to fuel my capacity for knowledge.”