I certainly was. Sort of. Mostly I was talking about the distraction aspect of cell phones in classrooms. Then this article appeared in today’s Rutland Herald. (I’m going to warn you ahead of time of dripping sarcasm. You might want to don a hat if you want to avoid getting splattered.) So, Mr. Dad here used to be all concerned about cell phones in the classroom. He doesn’t say why he was concerned, but we can probably assume it had to do with distractions and the child not paying attention to the teacher. And when children don’t pay attention to the teacher it can quickly have a negative effect on the child’s grades. However, Mr. Dad isn’t at all worried about cell phones in the classroom any more. Not since he saw what his genius child uses the cell phone for: to take a picture of the home work assignment because he ran out of time to copy it down.
I’ll admit, it’s been a little while since I was in high school, and perhaps my high school wasn’t the most average of them, but as I recall teachers were usually pretty good about making sure there was enough time to copy down homework assignments. One might speculate as to why this genius child didn’t have time to copy down the homework assignment. Was he goofing off? Chatting with friends? Passing notes? Perhaps even using that cell phone to send messages? Maybe he didn’t have time to copy down the homework because he was busy wasting time.
But, I’ll be nice and give this child the benefit of the doubt. I’ll assume the lesson simply took longer than expected and everyone was hurried to copy down the assignment. In an effort to be a good student and both accurately copy the homework assignment and not be late for his next class, this child snapped a photo with his cell phone. Pure genius, I’m sure. And I can’t deny that this was a good way to accomplish both goals, and both goals were worthy. However, as I recall, the primary purpose of a cell phone is to make a phone call, perhaps to a friend, maybe even a class mate. As I also recall, if one fails to get a homework assignment, there are several options for getting the assignment. The standard procedure is to call one’s classmate and ask for the details. But, perhaps this is a particularly large school, or the student is in a class where he simply doesn’t know any of his classmates very well. Maybe there isn’t a classmate he would feel comfortable calling to request the homework. I’m fairly confident if the student were to walk into the teacher’s classroom during a break or right after school and make the request, the teacher would be more than happy to give him the assignment. I fail to see why keeping a cell phone turned on in a classroom, for the remote chance that one might need to snap a photo of a homework assignment, is suddenly a good idea.