So! I hear that there is a new trend arising in America where high schools and universities are allowing the use of smart phones as an educational tool.
Now, I am all for development and technology, in fact, I own a smart phone and this assists me in a lot of ways, from settling arguments about general knowledge with my husband, to looking for books to read online.
Obviously, there is controversy on this, and quite a few parents who disagree with having smartphones as a learning tool, would rather see their kids find other ways to learn.
Having a kid’s nose stuck to a screen all day isn’t a good idea for any child. I mean we, the older generation, went through all our school lives learning the old fashioned way: head’s buried in books for hours on end researching on essays we were to write e.t.c and we turned out alright.
Personally, I think smart phones have made us lazy and also very antisocial. We learn everything on the internet these days, from how to write a letter, how to sew a button, to how to perform a Kidney transplant!
We no longer have the need for knowledge to be passed down from generation to generation or the need to communicate with each other verbally (not that you would learn how to perform a Kidney transplant from your aging grandmother in the village, but you get my point…)
However, schools and teachers are beginning to realize that smartphones and tablets are here to stay, and some schools are even adopting policies for BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology). A few teachers are even allowing the technology to be used in tandem with their classroom lesson plans.[related_posts]
This got me thinking, would this system work in Africa and even more so in Uganda? Many naysayers I have met say that this would be a distraction maybe not for the University students but for the upper primary and high school students.
In the age of so many applications, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and so on, the temptation to stray from a learning experience is great. Many agree that the old ways are the best ways.
I thought my research was very biased as you already know my opinion on the matter, so I decided to ask high school teachers/university professors and students their opinion.
Students said smart phones would not be a distraction and that they would be able to learn a lot faster and it would be “cool”. While the educators I spoke to responded flat out “Ban them in class!”
One of the professors I spoke with said that he was conducting an anatomy class for his first year medical students and they had to dissect a brain and as he wheeled it out to present it, his students bombarded the tray taking several pictures like some sick, twisted band of paparazzi! “One girl,” he said, even “took a “selfie”.
Another concern was the theft of these smartphones if used as a learning tool, one of my close friends, a parent, was quoted saying “We live in a world where a decent smartphone costs more than your grocery bill, now why would I give my kid a phone I have saved for like to months for school and then have it stolen from him/her in a matter of seconds?” And then questioned “Who is paying for these?, even if the school/Universities provide a loan system, that money still comes from my pocket!”
Not all teachers are against smartphones in school, another physics teacher at a popular high school in Kampala said that she encourages her students to look for videos of the physics topic they are discussing and then picks the best one to share with the class. She says that technology is here to stay so she may as well use it to her advantage.
Whether it is a good idea or a bad one, I say smart phones have no place in the classroom but at the rate that technology is growing perhaps it might be time to consider embracing it.