We sat through a recent staff meeting with our smartphones in our hands. As the presenter went through her deck, we took pictures of the slides with the Evernote app, adding our own notes as we went along. Later, one of our co-workers commented to the group that perhaps those of us with our phones out were being rude. We can certainly empathize with her complaint—we’ve all had the moment of seeing someone using a smartphone in public and inwardly rolling our eyes. But why are the rules different for a smartphone than they are for a computer?
Really, the word “smartphone” is a misnomer—at least as we see it. Of the myriad functions that our smartphones contain, we use the “phone” part the least. We use it as a computer. We use it as a library. The same is true for most of our students.
Many schools though, ban phones in classrooms. Why? Well, students may text with the phones—they could be sending messages from their pockets and under the desks during lectures. They could play games and go on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, disengaging from what they are supposed to be doing in the classroom. <Read more.>