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Schools Turn To Cellphones As Teaching Tools

More and more schools in the U.S. are starting to adapt the use of cellphones as productive tools inside the classroom, Fox News reported.

Instead of restricting students from using their mobile devices while inside school premises, many officials are starting to understand how they will benefit by incorporating phones in their curriculum.

For assistant principal William Blake of Henry A. Wise Jr. High School, merging popular tech gadgets and education can help teachers win the attention of their pupils.

"It's a shift, when you think about traditional teaching, where the teacher is at the blackboard and the students are just in listening mode," Blake said. "This is a policy that allows you to get to students where they are."

But allowing pupils to use phones during class hours doesn't mean they can text or surf the net with their smartphones whenever they want. Instead, the devices will be used for lessons through apps, according to USA Today.

For instance, applications such as Poll Everywhere, can allow the school to take polls from students wherever they are while Edmodo can foster teamwork among students while working on collaborative projects.

In addition, files and photos for homework and projects can be shared and distributed using Dropbox.

"Most of our teachers are becoming more excited about social media and website applications," Blake said. "They are asking for professional development and assistance."

"We are starting to frame our professional development around using cellphones in the classroom for instruction," he added.

Despite the positive motives of school districts on using cellphones, various professionals are worried about the effectiveness of the program.

Previous reports indicated that even though these devices will be used for academic purposes, they can still distract students from their school-related priorities, according to Daily Mail.

"I can think of many ways students would misuse their cellphones in the classroom," public teacher Jessica Dumont said. "I can't think of how you can monitor the [smartphone] use to keep a safe environment conducive to real learning."

Like Dumont, clinical child psychologist Cullen Sharma is also worried about how teachers can effectively monitor the use of mobile devices in the classroom.

In addition, Sharma noted that relying on these gadgets takes away the physical and emotional interaction between students.

"I'm very curious about how they are tracking the kids using their phones...and how do they know it's working," she said. "Kids really need opportunities to socialize interpersonally. That's been something people have been wanting to talk about - how screens impact social development."

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