Southeast Missouri State University student publication

What do you think about using cell phones in class?

Monday, September 17, 2012
Rachel Weatherford

Rachel Weatherford

Managing Editor

A: I love my cell phone as much as the next person. Sometimes it feels like an extension of my arm. However, there is a time and a place for cell phone usage, and classes are not the place. Cell phones are incredibly rude to use while someone is talking--even if that person is saying something incredibly boring.

I know that some professors aren't the greatest teachers in the world, but that doesn't mean they should be disrespected. If a student doesn't like his or her professor, he or she needs to get a new one.

It's not the just the professor. It's disrespectful to the others in the class as well. It is distracting to other students as well. Even though they may not admit it, a lot of students think cell phone usage in class is distracting and annoying. The most annoying cell phones are the ones that make clicking sounds when the person types on it. Now, I'm not talking about accidentally forgetting to turn off a phone. I've forgotten to turn my phone off a couple times too, and hearing Skillet playing "The Last Night" in the middle of a discussion is embarrassing. I always apologize and turn it off as quickly as possible. I'm talking about using cell phones to answer calls or check texts, social media or other websites. Yes, in class, students have actually picked up their phone and answered it. "Hello?" Really? Where does anyone get the impression that's OK to do?

I know that students pay for the class, but students are here at school to learn. It's like $20 a class period. Is that text or peek at Facebook really worth wasting $20? I know that a lot of people are motivated to go to class to get their 10 or 15 percent participation points, but how can someone participate when they're constantly glancing down at their iPhone or Android?

Show the previous generations that our generation isn't rude. It's OK if someone has to wait while the receiver of the message is finishing class.

There's an old cliché that goes: "All good things come to those who wait." It's actually true. Boyfriends and girlfriends can wait. If someone is dating someone else and that person can't wait for a 50-minute class to get over, then that person should re-evaluate that relationship. That boyfriend or girlfriend needs to learn some self-control. I mean, it's just a message. Texts can wait. Facebook can wait. Twitter can wait. If people can't wait and constantly want to be on their phones, then they need to be signing up at 7 a.m. on class registration day for an online class. Then they don't have to show up and bother the rest of us.

Whitney Law

Arts and Entertainment Editor

Whitney Law

A: I think that college students should be able to use cell phones in class. Yes, I understand that this can be distracting. I agree that it can be rude. I am aware of the fact that we are in class to learn. However, society is changing, and college is a time for students to prepare for the future.

If students are treated like adults when it comes to paying the bills for their classes, they deserve to be treated like adults in the classroom--and likewise, students should act like adults.

Professors see no problem with assigning so much homework that students have to learn to multi-task and forgo distractions outside of the classroom because it helps them learn how to cope with real-life stresses. However, they often do not trust them to use those same skills in class when it comes to using a cell phone.

No two students are the same, so it is unfair to assume that all students that use a cell phone in class are browsing the internet or texting friends due to apathy or boredom. Many times, students need to be able to continue to communicate throughout the day but have enough respect for their education and for their professors to make it a priority to be in class. I have great respect for all of my professors, but even more for those that care enough about me to understand that I'm not just a face in the crowd. I have a life. I have other homework. I have multiple jobs. Sometimes I cannot wait an hour to respond to someone; people depend on me. Especially since I am in the mass communication field, it is part of my education to keep up with what is going on at all times. That kind of respect for me and my time makes me feel as though my professor thinks of me as the adult that I am expected to be.

College students are adults and should act like it. It isn't appropriate to be constantly staring at a phone and slacking on work in any other social setting, and the classroom is no exception. I believe students should be given the right to learn how they want to learn, manage their time as they see fit and accept the consequences because they are paying to be there. If a student wants to waste their money and time, that is their choice. The professor is still earning their salary by being there. Professors often try to compare themselves to students by saying that if they have to be there, so do students. That is not rational. They are being paid to be there, not paying to be there. If a student wants to give up some class participation points because they need to communicate with someone via text, for example, they can be smart enough to figure out if their grade can handle that. Students that use technology in class the proper way should be able to maintain classwork. Students that cannot are wasting only their own time, and it is their time to waste.

If a phone is silent, it is not distracting, except to the user. Frankly, I do not feel as though people looking at other people's screens is a common issue. Staring at a classmate's phone while they use it is just creepy for one thing, and is that person's problem, not the cell phone user's problem.

Communication is vital and its necessity cannot always be controlled. It is just as important that professors trust students to be using technology appropriately as it is for students to go about it in a respectful way.