Second argument re: Mobile phones as a learning tool?: Negative
In my last post, I mentioned several issues regarding the use of mobile phones in the classroom. While I do realise some of these issues can eventually be resolved technologically, some are more complex in nature and may need more looking into before we succumb to the idea of allowing our students to access their mobile phones while in class.
One complex issue I have in mind is the disruptive nature of the mobile device in a formal learning environment. As a teacher (who can be clumsy and awkward at times), I’m still uncomfortable with the thought that my students, because of their mobile phones, have the capacity to take photos and videos and upload them almost simultaneously onto a social networking website for the world to see. Some might find this view too paranoid, but based on the stories and articles I’ve found online, this is one issue that teachers find the most disturbing. In one particular incident at All Saints’ Roman Catholic School, UK in 2009, Mr. Peter Harvey, a 50 year old science teacher, was arrested for attempted murder by the Nottinghamshire police because he beat a 14-year-old student with a dumbell after a confrontation in the classroom. But during the course of the trial, it emerged that, on that fateful day, a number of students were trying to provoke him to capture his reaction using their mobile phones. Having just returned from stress leave and still in a vulnerable state, the students chose the worst time to bait Mr. Harvey to partcipate in their little video production. The unfortunate incident resulted to a student in hospital and a usually mild-mannered teacher in jail. In the end, Mr Harvey was acquitted of the attempted murder charge but only after being incarcerated for ten months.
Of course one can say that the above incident can be considered an extreme case, but videos such as the ones posted here , can make any teacher think twice about allowing kids carry these devices in their classrooms.
The question that now comes to my mind is, because mobile phones are now becoming more popular as a tool in formal learning, how do we make sure that students don’t use them in anti-social and disruptive activities? Are students today ready to be trusted with such a powerful and smart device in the classroom?
Richardson, H. (2010). Case Prompts Mobile Crackdown Call, BBC News, April 29, 2010 from url: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10092626 . Retrieved on October 13, 2011.
Cell phone cameras in k-12 classroom: Punishable offenses or student journalism?, Dangerously Irrelevant, March 6, 2008 from url: http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2008/03/cell-phone-came.html. Retrieved on October 13, 2011.