Guest Column: Smartphones detract from learning

The Newtonite

[media-credit id=25 align=”alignleft” width=”300″] Senior Bob Waters uses his smartphone to look up the definition of a word.
by Elena Schwartz

It has finally arrived: the first day of school. Students crowd the hallways and cluster around lockers, admiring their friends new shoes, new backpacks and, sadly, new smartphones.

Smartphone applications, such as Angry Birds, Instagram and Fruit Ninja, serve as a constant distraction to students during class. It is very difficult to learn how to calculate the slope of a parabola while simultaneously achieving your all-time high score in Temple Run. Smartphones detract from the learning environment.

Smartphones are currenty banned in classrooms, according to the Students’ Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. The real problem is that students use smartphones whenever they are not in class.

Because students spend so much time on smartphones outside of class, that they no longer spend much time socializing with friends. For example, increasingly, thanks to smartphones, lunch goes from being a time when you can catch up with your friends, to a time when you can attempt a triple word score in Words with Friends.

The problem is not only social. Although banned, because smartphones are allowed on campus, students often use them in class. This undermines students’ academic focus. As Dr. Nada Kakabadse reports in the BBC News article “Tech Addiction Harms Learning,” “Students are hiding these things under the desks so their concentration cannot be equally divided, they are not focusing on what’s going on in class. They can’t get motivated to read for a long period of time.”

Smartphones are detrimental to the learning and social environments in school. There are ways to communicate without social networks, and students will concentrate better in classrooms where phones are not present. So put down your phone. Your friends and your grades, will thank you.