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Teacher Frustrated With Smartphones in the Classroom

Unfortunately for many educators, the advancement of technology doesn’t only bring along new EdTech tools to enhance learning, it also comes with potential classroom distractions.

These distractions are part of the reason one educator is quitting her job as an ESL/history teacher for Lowell High School in Massachusetts.

“After 20 years of teaching, Miriam Morgenstern is calling it quits this month,” according to a recent Boston Globe article.

“The texting, tweeting, and Snapchatting during class time are ‘an incredible distraction, and makes it much more difficult to teach,’” said Morgenstern, according to the article.

“It’s pretty hard to compete with a very funny YouTube video.”

Almost every couple of years there seems to be a new social media app that draws the attention of students all over. The increased social aspects of high school seem to heighten the use of these apps leading educators looking for a balance.

“Some 88 percent of American teens ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a mobile phone, and a majority of teens (73 percent) have smartphones, according to a Pew Research Center study released in April,” reports Linda Matchan of the Globe.

“Ninety-two percent of teens report going online daily, with more than half saying they’re online several times a day. Twenty-four percent say they do so “almost constantly.”

It’s hard to point the finger at a smartphone as the culprit for low-student engagement however, research conducted with 91 schools in four cities in England, where more than 90 percent of teenagers own a mobile phone, suggests that their test scores were 6.41 percent higher at schools where cellphone use is prohibited, according to the Boston Globe report.

“Many in the pro-technology camp say that students are not distracted if their teachers are engaging, a statement that exasperates soon-to-be former teacher Miriam Morgenstern,” according to the article.

“She recently brought a Holocaust survivor into class to talk about World War II, and noticed that one of her students was tweeting during the talk. ‘Should I have told the Holocaust survivor to be a little more engaging?’" Morgenstern asked.

Whether to allow smartphones in the classroom is an ongoing debate with arguments to support each side. It’s hard to say what the best answer is but if students perform better without access to smartphones, there is a chance that educators might have the edge in the debate.

Read the full story and let us know your stance on smartphones/cellphones in the classroom in the comments below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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