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Phones disturb classes

By Tyson Thomson
On April 19, 2012

College is becoming further integrated with smart phones, tablet devices, and all types of digital computing technology. Where technology develops, the methodology of studying and using it changes.

In my opinion, it seems that nearly 95 percent of students carry mobile technology for music, information gathering with the Internet, and/or socializing.

When ETSU adopted going green standards, papers began changing into digital format. The needs for accessing documents, files and other memory upgraded, but affording new equipment remained the same difficult task.

Emerging technology has made great strides in the world, and it is increasingly clear to me that a person's persona adapts to using electronic codependency.

Do you feel empty without a smart phone or other communication device? Stability seems to draw from organizing media consumption and multitasking the technology resources.

What is useful and useless becomes the real question. Instead of wearing watches and keeping written track of my life, digital format has replaced old tools for new ones. Switching mobile devices to off enables professors to reach listeners, but in my college experience voice recorders should be the only handheld electronics in classroom.

Apple Corp. and the Android community created almost identical question-and-answer programs to serve as public secretaries. I can ask artificial intelligence what the weather is, what my schedule says, what time it is or anything a Google Voice Application can search for.

Some things are important, such as knowing your schedule and using applications for portable learning software. Tablet devices are a resourceful classroom platform, but smart phones have not matched the larger touch screen keyboard. Laptop computers are preferred in a classroom, but the answer to a discussion question is not on a social media website.

In a professional atmosphere cellular phones are seen placed on the table in case of business affairs, but in the classroom cellular phones remain near pockets and in a person's lap.

There is no need to keep a communication device visible to the teacher, but it should not be a mental deterrence from a lecture.

During my class, one out of four students in the row I sit in has an Android instead of an iPhone. Digital devices have become a necessary means of the university's learning environment.

When a student's smart phone vibrates during class, I try to avoid noticing it. I may glance at the notification and read the text message. My instinct is to try and figure out what is buzzing or making noise, yet my attention is distracted. Emergencies can happen when least expected, and accidents are not completely preventable.

One thing to understand is being in the right place at right time. If my phone starts to ring loudly and my professor is annoyed, I was practicing poor timing. An embarrassing ringtone is worse, but it can be disrespectful due to lack of decision-making. To better serve student's attention, smart phones can be kept at silent. Silence is key to hearing teachers or anyone speaking in class discussions.

In my foreign language class, a few students tried using online translators instead of bringing a dictionary to class. This is appropriate for context, but not as easy as the direct method. When I search for a translation in a paper dictionary, I remember it better.

On Wednesday, I was trying to hear what the professor was saying, and then a student sitting in the front row begins chiming an interesting ringtone. Another classmate says, "How rude!" then the laughter distracts the class for a few minutes.

If a phone or tablet starts ringing or buzzing in class, students will turn their head to discover the culprit. Their reactions are the only evidence needed to demonstrate being in the right place at the wrong time. A professor's response to phone noise varies, so it is good to remain alert and silent.

In my experience, attention to detail has prevented these types of lecture interferences. I like to think of a classroom atmosphere as being one of the best knowledge conductors.

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