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Veteran Educators Argue Smart Phone Use Has Reduced Critical Thinking

Veteran Educators Argue Smart Phone Use Has Reduced Critical Thinking

Two veteran educators from Fairfax County, V.A. are in the process of writing a book using anecdotal data from their experiences on how they believe the introduction of smart phones has severely decreased critical thinking and engaged learning in their respective classrooms.

Joe Clement and Matt Miles "say the free periods that are part of their school schedule have deteriorated from lively talk among students and teachers to silent screen reading, each student in a little world," according to The Washington Post.

Online homework assignments are taking twice as long as they would if the student read a paper textbook, because programs are sometimes difficult to load and students cannot resist the temptation to play around on the same devices."

Though Clement understands that many educators, parents and students support technology in education and regulated "screen time," he says he's noticed a concerning pattern about student interaction with their devices.

"When the free periods that Clement supervised became sterile and silent, he thought he could bring back the wonderful noise of teenagers helping each other with homework or talking about TV or their weekends by banning cellphone use during that time," the article said.

But rather than students putting down their devices and engaging, they simply stopped coming to his classroom and instead opted for classrooms with no restrictions, he says.

Certainly, research has indicated that mobile phone use serves as more of a distraction than a helpful learning tool.

A study from Ohio University, Illinois State University and Nebraska University researchers earlier this year found that students who used mobile phones while studying performed significantly worse than students with no such distraction. 

Clement and Miles don't rely on brain research in their upcoming book- but they say their experiences speak enough about the change devices' are making in student engagement. Clement can describe how lessons he taught once sparked lively classroom discussions and are now limited to the "who, what, when, where and why" that Google can tell them.

Read more here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/28/2015

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