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The rampant use of brand-new cellular phones by our learners is very common nowadays unlike decades ago when having a cell phone was considered luxurious. But could cellphone be maximized to enhance learning of our students?
As a school head, I was given the opportunity to observe and monitor classes. During classroom visits, I did observe some students using their cell phones during class hours, either silently playing or texting. During that time, I surmised that learning was affected and other students were apparently disturbed. My observation supported the contentions of Sana et al. (2013) that students were found to have continuously used cell phones for non-educational purposes during class instruction, even when they are aware of the negative side-effects of cell phone usage while in the classroom.
According to researches, the increase in student cell phone use in classrooms has led to a decrease in academic performance of the learners (Dietz & Henrich, 2014).
Instead of reprimanding our students, I found time to have a heart-to-heart talk with them. I told them about a regional memorandum and other issuances regulating the use of cellphones inside the classrooms. But most of them claimed that using cellular phones is their way of coping with assigned multi-tasks. They asserted they were still engaged in the lesson while using their cell phones contrary to my suspicion.
The students’ behavior prompted me to look into studies related to multi-tasking. A study by Sana, Weston and Cepada (2013) found that targeted students were observed to be “multitasking” during 42% of their time in class. Such being the case, it is interesting to see the context where cellphones are being used during class hours. This is notwithstanding the issuances of DepEd regulating use of cellular phones. In fact, even lawmakers have signified intentions to file legislative measures banning or regulating cellphones in the classrooms.
All the regulations and proposed measures regarding the use of mobile phones in schools have noble intentions. But considering the kind of generation our students belong today, it might also be to their advantage should we also consider measures on how cellular phones are maximized to enhance learning.
Whether we agree or not, cellphone is already a need rather than want. For high school students especially in the senior high school, the wide range of applications and features of mobile technology could help them in enhancing their skills and eventually help them improve their performance. For one, they can easily interact and connect with their family members and peers or they could even submit their requirements to their teachers online thorough some applications such as messenger, emails and the like.
The latest mobile technologies are equipped with operating system that include education applications such as Encarta, encyclopedia, geography, mathematics, among others. Why not maximize these to make learning meaningful?
By Edwin S. Ayangdan