School cellphone policy is outdated

Staff Editorial

Technology has greatly impacted education in recent years.

In fact, 74 percent of educators surveyed said technology is key to helping them expand on classroom content, according to a 2013 nationwide PBS survey.

This opinion is not unfounded, as studies consistently show that students who use technology perform better than those who do not.

A 2012 study by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt demonstrated that students using iPads saw a 20 percent increase in their math test scores compared to students using paper textbooks.

Many students already bring smartphones capable of the same functions of an iPad to school every day.

So this begs the question: Why does the school’s policy ban the use of cellphones during class time?

With common core standards implemented, students are taught technological skills from as early on as kindergarten.

Such skills range from turning on a computer to using Microsoft Word, according to the state’s common core standards.

The goal is to teach students from an early age that technology can be used as a valuable reference tool. But this teaching is undermined by the fact that we are not allowed to use technology in the classroom because of school policy.

Technology is proven to help better the scores of students as a whole. This may not be true for all students, as some prefer paper textbooks to electronic textbooks.

But removing restrictions on the use of technology in the classroom would not affect these students. Instead, it would help those who learn in a different way.

It is true that when given freedom, there will be those who take advantage of it. Allowing students to use their cellphones during class may lead to distractions and some playing on their phones rather than completing the task at hand.

But these students find other ways to distract themselves, cellphone or not.

A teacher can force students to keep their cellphones in their backpacks. But they cannot force the students to care about the lesson. That must come from the students.

We are  past the days where in order to do research, one must go all the way to the library across town to check out a book. We have access to a world of knowledge at our fingertips.

It is by far the most efficient way to access information, which is why new education standards such as the common core put so much emphasis on technology use in the classroom.

But these goals cannot be accomplished with the regressive cell phone policies of the school.