Smartphones might be dumbing us down

Mr. Willem Hillier

As anyone who has ever been in a modern high-school classroom knows, smartphones are very often used, whether the teacher wants them to be or not. Some teachers see them as a tool for learning, others see them as a hinderance. This debate between students and teachers, in all combinations, is something that is happening right now across the nation.

The way teachers view and control phones in the classroom could affect an entire generation of learners and thinkers. In a very practical sense, it will change the way the high schoolers of today work tomorrow, since students will inevitably carry the techniques they have learned and practiced in high school into the work environment. Here at CVU, it really is truly a mixed bag among teachers when it comes to smartphones.

Among the many who think the use of smartphones in classrooms have both pros and cons is Christopher Hood. He believes that these personal electronic devices can be used appropriately, and so far this year he has seen students “using good discretion” with their smartphones. However, he also cautions that there are students that can be irresponsible with their use, and he says that he sees students “checking their fantasy football teams” and “watching ESPN”, as well as using various social media services. These types of activities contribute to the sentiment of Polly Vanderputten. She has a policy of “Out of View, Out of Mind” when it comes to smartphones, and strictly enforces it. In her classes, students are required to place their phones into personal manilla envelopes before the start. Judging by the lack of smartphones in my French class, her method seems pretty successful! However, this method can be problematic when there is a valid use for a smartphone.

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