Cell phones lower grades

In Opinion

The first week of every semester we sit through the long, monotonous speeches about academic integrity, course expectations, due dates, course outlines and grading. The most interesting part of these long lectures that we have to listen to at least four times every semester is the part about the grading.

We get participation points and certain percentages for different things.

However, the teachers sometimes neglect to let us know what they do and do not allow. Some teachers are very upfront with what they allow and cell phones are never one of them.

Some teachers allow laptops, but even though the world is going digital, classrooms seem to be going the other way.

More and more am I watching my classmates be told to put their laptops away, because the teachers know that the students are only on Facebook.

Personally, I think I would be offended if the students who signed up to take this class feel disinclined to pay attention. This is the professor’s job.

They have decided to go into teaching to pass their knowledge on to us, their students. We may just want the grade, but we miss so much by not paying attention.

The professors simply expect the same courtesy they display in class.

The teachers are not texting in class, so why should we?

If they tell us at the beginning of the semester that they do not allow cell phones in class, then they have every right to take their revenge upon us and take points off our grade.

True, some teachers do not tell the class the usage of cell phones will result in the loss of points, but when has texting in class been encouraged?

Is it so hard to turn the phone off for a whopping two hours?

How will our social lives survive us not being constantly available to Tweet and IM on Facebook?

If there is a chance of an emergency or you have made arrangements for a call that can’t help but be during a class, then a teacher will understand if it is a one-time thing; just keep your phone on silent and politely excuse yourself when the time comes.

Is that so hard?

Now, I cannot say that I am perfect and have never texted under the desk or let my web-searching take me away from the PowerPoint online to check some other digital media.

But I do not make a habit of it.

When my philosophy teacher has to keep stopping class to repeatedly ask students to put their phones away, not once but several times in one class, then he has every right to finally say, “Forget it, what is your name? I am docking points!”

Yet, when the world is going so digital so fast, the teachers need to face the inevitable. If they can’t beat them, join them.

Many schools in Asia, the United Kingdom and our neighbors to the north in Canada have been experimenting with incorporating the cell phone usage into class.

Teachers harnessed the text messages, Bluetooth and recording devices to keep better track of what was going on in class and to help students remember their homework and assignments.

To their great amazement, the phones that had been a nuisance became important tools of learning. Now that it was not taboo to use phones in class, the students in one Canadian classroom were found to be more focused on their work and less distracted.

It is sort of like the idea that if you are not allowed to do something, you do it, but if it is OK then the idea suddenly becomes less interesting.

On a college level, phones may not be as handy when it comes to homework, but phones are not going away.

Professors do not need to let us know that the use of them in class will result in points lost. Unless the professors say, “Text away!” keep the phones in the bags.

Maybe one day soon a professor will harness the potential of controlling a class via cell phone.

But until that day, just put your social life on hold for a little while and enjoy the class.

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