Smartphones can be valuable tools in the classroom, if teachers find the right way to use them. Unfortunately, the devices can’t be controlled the way textbook content can be.
Solutions range from the total bans on cellphones in the classroom to allowing students to use their smartphones as they please. Some instructors use social media to engage their students, but blogger Dexter McMillan suggests the technology has turned teachers into advertisers competing for consumers’ attention.
“Teachers are selling a product, knowledge, to their students—much of which has no interest or practical use to the majority of students,” he wrote. “Teachers are advertisers selling the most undesirable product on Earth: History. Math. Grammar.”
Teachers used to be able to stand in front of a class and lecture, but technology has created a more collaborative style of instruction that isn’t solely measured by grades. McMillan wrote that teachers need to reclaim that content control with more and better tools.
“Without control of these devices, technology will not be able to move the classroom experience forward in a significant or profound way,” he said. “Grumpy cat, sports highlights, and pictures from the party on the weekend will continue to dominate classroom attention.”