The short answer is "No!" As a parent, grandparent, and former teacher, I assumed the answer would be "Yes!" Smartphones are everywhere. Young people spend hours staring at those tiny screens. They most certainly can be a distraction. But the bottom line is that smartphones are affordable communication tools for students from various socio-economic levels.
Advantage No. 1
The whole point of K-12 education is to teach young people how to think critically, analyze information, and organize academic work and other related activities. Smartphones are incredibly efficient for managing all kinds of data. Teaching a young person how to organize her work, take notes, and set reminders lays the groundwork for success in whatever endeavors she takes up after graduating high school.
Advantage No. 2
Smartphones level the playing field by making a powerful computing tool available to students who otherwise could not afford a traditional laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Smartphones are also invaluable when textbooks are not available.
Advantage No. 3
With the advent of smartphones and their tremendous computing power came apps. So I asked ChatGPT for a list of educational apps, and this is what it produced:
- Kahoot!: This app allows teachers to create quizzes and games for their students, which can be played in the classroom or remotely.
- Duolingo: Duolingo is a language learning app providing interactive lessons in dozens of languages.
- Khan Academy: Khan Academy offers a wide range of free online courses and lessons in subjects such as math, science, and history.
- Quizlet: Quizlet