Spring Cleaning: Let’s get rid of phone-free classrooms


Kernel Opinion SIG

Before you rush to harsh judgments and stereotypes, hear me out: Phones can be useful and, quite frankly, they’re going to be part of our future. So let’s get used to the idea of phones in college classrooms.

The most common argument I hear from this suggestion is, “But phones are a distraction!” and you’re completely right; phones can be a huge distraction. As college students, we should have the choice to use our phones to distract us, in a class we’re paying for, if we want. If a student ultimately fails a class due to their negligence, it’s their own fault.

For those who have multiple jobs and many important events happening, the ability to shoot a quick text back while in class is important. Texting back in a timely manner is imperative to many students’ jobs or family matters that need a response.

Beginning a class on syllabus day with, “Phone use is prohibited,” forces students to up their creativity in using a phone secretly. Most laptops have the capability of texting, too, so is it time to prohibit those as well? Technology is advancing so rapidly that it’s hard to put an end to one thing and not all.

Phones should be considered useful tools in the classroom. A professor or classmate has a question that needs a quick answer? You’ll know in a few seconds with a phone. Need to start a group chat to meet up with classmates outside of class? Instead of writing each number individually and later hoping it’s correct, pull a phone out and start one in a flash; you’ll know instantly. Have an important due date that needs a reminder set? Your phone can notify you after logging it.

While phone use in classrooms can have a negative impact on learning if overused, that choice should be up to each student whether they wish to take that chance or not. Phone use has many positives that are often overlooked due to the negative stereotypes phones carry. Let’s begin thinking of phones as a tool of the future, and one we can choose to use if we wish.