Should you use a smartphone in class? This is a question that many schools and teachers face every day. What is the legal situation in Germany and Austria? And how can you still effectively combine school and smartphone? eSquirrel has done the research.

Constant accessibility

According to a study by saferinternet.at, the urge to be constantly reachable is causing more and more digital time stress for many young people. In many aspects, the smartphone is used out of boredom. It is not uncommon for students to be distracted by their cell phones in class. To counteract this, Bavaria has already banned the private use of smartphones (even during breaks) for 10 years. Students may use cell phones only with the express permission of teachers. In the other states, it is up to the schools themselves to decide whether to allow cell phones. In Austria, the teachers’ union is now calling for a cell phone ban because smartphones are causing more and more problems, even during breaks.

Additionally, smartphone opponents point out the dangers of cell phone addiction, as well as cyberbullying. It is, therefore, all the more important that teachers become aware of the dangers, but also the benefits, of increasing digitization. It is therefore important that students receive a basic digital education. The German information portal for more security on the smartphone Mobilsicher also published an information brochure on this in 2017.

How the cell phone enriches the classroom.

  • Digitalization is changing our daily lives. In order to be prepared for the challenges of the 21st century it is therefore important to use digital media in the classroom, according to a press release from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany.
  • Current topics can be discussed and dealt with directly.
  • Almost every other student already learns with YouTube videos and repeats learning content at home.
  • By allowing students to use their own devices, multimedia tasks can be accomplished easily and inexpensively. There is no need to reserve the computer room first for research.
  • The use of different media makes lessons more exciting and varied.
  • Students are prepared for the future through the use of digital media. They will be shown how to assess sources in the future as well. Thus, they are trained to select reputable and non-serious sources.
  • Using engaging videos and articles motivates students to learn beyond the classroom and awakens a thirst for knowledge.
  • With apps like eSquirrel, homework can be assigned and evaluated directly through the app. This not only saves time and nerves but also provides a direct overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the class. Thus, the lessons can be adapted to the needs of the students.

Conclusion: smartphone use in class can be a major distraction when used privately and can cause great stress among students. However, analog media should not be completely displaced by digitization, but rather supplemented by it. In this way, students are prepared for the digital challenges and additionally learn how to deal with sources. With a good measure of control and the deliberate use of it, lessons can be enriched. Apps like eSquirrel help to make lessons more varied and playful by supplementing the textbook. Teachers benefit from an easier workload and an overview of the students’ progress. In this way, digitization can help ensure that every student has the same opportunities on his or her educational path.

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