Can Cellphones Be Used for Educational Purposes?
Recently, whether or not cellphones can be educational tools is a hot issue in the world. People have different point of view from person to person, culture to culture. A lot of people think that cellphones can be educational tools with the reasons of small appearance and easy to carry, while other people think that cellphones can’t be educational tools on the contrary. On my personal level, I agree with the latter one with three main reasons: cellphones have too many distractions, cause eye irritation and influence people’s health. Therefore, there are many reasons that make cellphones unfit for education purposes.
While there have been arguments that the use of cell phones for educational purposes enhance learning to a particular extend, there is no doubt that many students will certainly use such gadgets for purposes other than education. For instance, it is common to see students with cell phones texting, charting on Face Book, tweeting, and Snapchatting while lessons are ongoing. In addition, some of the contents which students come across could be very funny, thus making it difficult to concentrate in lessons. Therefore, such contents generates a significant level of distractions, hence hindering the work of teaching rather than enhancing it. Logically, such a means of learning could not work if the gadgets were tailored for such one purpose, learning. However, since this is not so, it could be difficult for students to resist the allure of texting, visiting social media sites, charting or communicating with their colleagues elsewhere.
Another concern against the use of cell phones in classrooms is that according to recent studies, excessive exposure to screens could have a potential of damaging one’s eyes. There is no wonder then that why many students who use cell phones and laptops or computers excessively end up using glasses. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, (2012) excessive utilization of digital devices cause’s discomfort and eye strains. Digital eye strain which is also identified as computer vision syndrome is a common phenomena in United States and other parts of the world. Its symptoms include irritable and dry eyes, back or head pain, eye fatigue, or blurred vision. A report prepared by the Vision Council (2015), established that 61% of people in United States of America have been subjected to eye strain because of the excessive use of digital gadgets. This translates that out of 3 people, two of them have been affected by this condition. Though no study is yet to confirm whether excessive use of digital gadgets could lead to permanent eye damage, it is apparent that there is a widespread concern for eye strain and that many people have been affected of this condition. In light of such dangers emanating from the use of such gadgets, I would then wonder why we would risk the lives of our students unless we are ignorant of these consequences.
What is more, the impact of digital devices on an individual’s health is well documented. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) mobile phone gadgets emit radiofrequency (RF) fields which are over 1000 times from their base stations, causing adverse health impact on the body. Among the health issues that have been associated with the use of these gadgets as per the WHO report include cancer, electromagnetic interference, accidents, lack of concentration, depression and other health issues. Other health issues that have been reported from using mobile phones include changes in sleep patterns, reaction times, and brain activity. Though other studies are being carried out to ascertain the degree of such effects and the relation on the use of cell phones to the various health issues, it would be wise to employ alternative approach in learning and education so as to prevent the possible health risks that could be associated with mobile phone usage in learning. Prevention as they say is better than cure.
Those who advocate for the use of cell phones in the classroom argue that whether a school has in place a cell phone policy or not, many students still harbor these gadgets and use them secretly. For instance, Persaud (2015) use findings from a 2013 IDC study findings which established that 80% of cell Smartphone owners have these gadgets almost the entire day and that they look into these gadgets within 20 minutes after waking up. Therefore, the gadgets have proved to be powerful to most people including teenagers. Therefore, according to them, it would be proper if schools make constructive use of these gadgets by employing them as educational tools. These proponents go on to point that the various educational applications which are availed in Smartphone are the student’s growth in knowledge while generally facilitating the learning processes.
Proponents on the use of cell phones for education purposes argue that these gadgets are becoming popular globally and that many people including teenagers are using it for various reasons. In this respect, they point out that since these gadgets are being used for various other purposes even for students, educationalists should make use of them constructively by turning them into educational tools. However, this move could be dangerous considering that it may not be possible to tailor the use of these tools to education only. It should also be considered that all cell phones are designed for personal use and that no one is entitled to monitor how one is using this gadget. It may therefore difficult to control the use of cell phones for its intended purposes.
Regarding the secret use of cell phones by students, it should also be considered that there are also other illegal things or objects which are still being used by students in many schools. The level at which the use of such things thrive depends on the measures and actions taken to curb them.
Considering the many ramifications and adverse effects caused by the use of cell phones, the only action that should be taken is to ban them altogether from classrooms. If such tools were to be used for education purposes as suggested, then they are certainly poised to do more harm than good in the learning process. In particular, it will distract many students’ attention from the real purpose which is learning to other social issues which may include charting, making calls, watching funny videos, alongside exposing the same to potential health related risks.