The cons of the Electronic Device Policy

Julia Brossia, Writer

Since cell phones have become ubiquitous in today’s society, school environments have experienced many changes as administrators grapple with the issue of phone usage in classrooms. Whether it’s an interesting outlet that distracts students from getting work done, or the cause of more serious conflicts like cyberbullying, phones are a major concern for educators and parents alike. However, Foothill Tech’s cell phone policy has many drawbacks that need to be considered. 

This long-standing policy states that if a student is using their cell phone during a time when it is not prohibited, their teacher can confiscate it. In some cases, a parent may even be required to come to the school to retrieve the phone. This can be seen as unfair and a violation of the ownership of the device, considering that cell phones are the property of the students, oftentimes paid for by their parents or the students themselves. Confiscating phones when they are misused will only cause students to feel more inclined to rebel and use them secretly.

Additionally, there are benefits to using cell phones in school that administrators may not take into account. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, schools that originally had an “old-school” style of teaching with books and papers have now adjusted to being more technology oriented. Research done by the Institution of Educational Sciences (IES) from 2019-2020 shows that a little over 70 percent of schools said that their teachers regularly used technology for class activities. This vast increase caused large populations of students to learn to rely on technology for their education, as well as social interactions. This includes cell phones, laptops and more. If the policy is enforced verbatim, it is unfair for administrators to expect students to return back to normal so quickly after these drastic changes.

Allowing the usage of cellphones in school can also provide a more interactive, entertaining education. Although there is often a negative stigma pertaining to the usage of cell phones when it comes to school, there are many features that can be utilized for the benefit of education. One feature that comes with the use of devices is educational games, a popular example being Kahoot. Research done by the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJCS) discovered that the gamification of education can actually improve outcomes by 45.45 percent. Teachers can take advantage of this by promoting the use of cellphones in class for good, rather than prohibiting it.

There are also more benefits to utilizing technology for educational purposes, such as increased communication. According to research done by Statista, 81 percent of college students believe that digital learning technology, including but not limited to virtual classroom chats, has helped them increase their grades. When made proper use of, such as reaching out for help and finding additional resources for learning, phones can actually have a large benefit.

Online learning is one of the fastest growing aspects of the educational system. As technology expands, schools should adapt to keep up with these advancements rather than enforcing outdated ideals of what a proper education should look like. Additional research by IES demonstrates that 33 percent of schools agree that the use of educational technology has helped students be more independent and self directed. Many schools also agree that technology helps students learn at their own pace (35 percent), learn collaboratively with peers (30 percent) and learn more actively (41 percent).

Cell phones can easily be used at Foothill Tech for educational benefits. If teachers and administrators work to treat cell phones as a tool rather than a distraction, there is much more room for educational development due to increased engagement and positivity. Instead of prohibiting cell phones during class and confiscating them when used, it would be a much better idea for Foothill Tech to encourage students to use them responsibly.

What do you think?