Cell phones, schmell phones

   Have you ever found yourself bored in class, listening to your boring teacher’s boring lecture, and felt the urge to take your phone out? I have. But not for the same reasons as most. I do not want to be able to use my phone in class in order to text or Snapchat or tweet or Facebook message. I want to be able to use my phone in class in order to learn better.

   Unfortunately, using phones as tools may sound like a radical notion to the Arvada West administration. Although there are no rules prohibiting the use of electronics (such as cell phone) in the classroom in the Jefferson County Public Schools Conduct Code for the 2013-2014 school year, the Arvada West Student Handbook says otherwise. According to the 2012-2013 edition of the guide—the most recent one available on the school website—”Cell phones are prohibited in the academic halls at any point in the day. Students may use cell phones in the Commons, pre-function area, and outside.”

   Coincidentally, these are the areas where cell phones are the least useful. Of course students need them for calling and texting parents, coordinating rides home and the like, but beyond that what are they good for? If a student has a smartphone, for example, none of the capabilities of the computer in his or her pocket are being taken advantage of throughout the day, and to me that simply feels wrong.

   If my teacher tells me the homework is due tomorrow in class and I want to input into a device of my choice, under the current school policy I am not allowed to do that. I have to write it down somewhere because I do not have a planner, then copy it to the device later.

   Why not just get a planner and stop whining about it, you ask? It is a fair question. I fully admit the ability to put my homework in my phone is not a life or death, supremely important concern. It is, however, a daily task I have to do deal with and it is so much easier to have it in typed form where I can easily set a reminder for when to do it, look at it wherever I am and whenever I need to, and send it to my friends if they have forgotten.

   Most teenagers live in a world where the Internet is a major part of their daily lives, and to remove it from the learning aspect seems counterintuitive. Why am I not allowed to search for a definition in English, or translate a word in Spanish? Why am I unable to Google a theorem in Calculus, or look up an element in Chemistry? If our school district wants to bring learning into the twenty-first century, my cell phone cannot be left out.