You’d be hard-pressed to find a high school student that doesn’t have their own smartphone in 2018. In years gone by, mobile phones were less prominent amongst teenagers and very much a taboo item to be using at school, with students going to great lengths to avoid confiscation.
However, the advent of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies has completely changed the way students interact with technology in the schoolyard. Electronic resources such as laptops, tablets and even smartphones are actively involved in the learning process, although there is still debate over whether this is a step in the right direction.
Why does it work?
Refines digital literacy
According to the Foundation for Young Australians’ The New Basics report, digital literacy is a key transferrable skill, with demand over the last three years rising by a remarkable 212 per cent. Being exposed to technology from a younger age and integrated digital practices on a daily basis allows students to develop these skills at school, rather than trying to learn them ad hoc when looking for a job.
Smartphones are part of the modern workplace
Computers have long been the standard piece of equipment in countless businesses, but the popularity of the smart phone as a work tool is constantly increasing to the point where journalists can use their iPhones to capture photos and post stories within a matter of seconds. As this technology improves, smartphones will have even more capabilities in the future, so it is vital that students are well versed in how to use them in a practical context.
Why doesn’t it?
It’s an unnecessary distraction
It’s an obvious argument - students are more likely to get distracted from their work if they are allowed to not only have their phone on them, but use it within school hours. It’s a valid one too, considering the amount of time people spend consumed by their phones with apps, music, social media and more all available at the swipe of a finger.
Risk of cyberbullying and sexting
There are a host of risks associated with allowing smartphone use at school, from cyberbullying over social media to sexting between students. Whilst one can argue these can occur outside of school (which is true), the situation becomes further complicated and has the potential to cause enormous angst for students, teachers and parents alike.