What you need to know:
With the current trends in digital technology and due to the fact that phones have become an integral part of our daily lives, proponents of phone use at school would argue that it’s the way to go as we embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution
As students return to school, the dilemma that teachers and school administrators face, in addition to enforcement of Covid-19 SOPs, is the issue of students reporting with phones. Everyone knows that many students acquired smartphones during the lockdown mainly to facilitate e-learning. The issue will be whether to accept the phones in school or prohibit them.
With the current trends in digital technology and due to the fact that phones have become an integral part of our daily lives, proponents of phone use at school would argue that it’s the way to go as we embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution. There is no escaping the fact that phones have helped many learners to undertake research and embrace new learning experiences via the internet, thereby breaking barriers that had previously impeded their learning. Take the example of Google and YouTube. Then you have other sites that have aided learning such as Facebook, WhatsApp, slideshare, messaging, Google drive, Zoom, to mention but a few. Through these applications, students have been able to share learning opportunities and hence expand their frontiers of knowledge.
Therefore, the outlook in the years to come due to the current trends, is that schools will be forced into a careful balancing act whether to allow phones among students or prohibit them. But for now, I would personally argue strongly against students being allowed to possess and use phones at school.
In the first place, the use of phones was encouraged because of the lockdown since students were not physically in contact with their teachers. Therefore, when students report to school there is no further need for them having phones since they will be rubbing shoulders with their teachers, unlike during the lockdown which necessitated e-learning. Secondly, it has been observed that phones disrupt learning especially in secondary schools. For example while the teacher is teaching, a student with a phone is most likely busy surfing the internet or watching video games, thereby being distracted from the lesson at hand.
Secondly, it’s an open secret that phones have been used to aid in the cheating of examinations, especially in secondary schools. The rampant leakage of Uneb exams in 2017 is a case in point. In fact, many times students preparing for final exams are lured to receive fake write ups purported to be Uneb papers. In a worst case scenario, students concentrate on such fake papers only to end up frustrated when they find that they are not genuine.
Further, phones especially among the youth, have also been known to promote moral decadence. This is particularly so when they access pornographic sites that are very addictive. In the long run such students’ academic progress will be retarded. There are countless vices also associated with phone use in schools. These include thefts and connections with criminals to mention but a few.
Therefore, one can observe that phones are not bad gadgets but it’s only their misuse among students that is the cause for the worry. For this reason, school managers and proprietors should put in place alternative digital platforms controlled by teachers to aid learning, instead of allowing students to go to school with phones.