The Use Of Smartphones In South African Classrooms

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Facts of the matter reveal that the use of smartphones in South African classrooms was introduced in the year 2015. Post the introduction of this system in South African schools, studies reveal that learners’ performances have extensively improved. According to a recent research conducted in South African schools, 9 out of 10 learners own cellphones whereas only 3 out of 10 own toothbrushes! This clearly supports that indeed cellphones are much of a need in the modern school life of students’. This essay will critically discuss and develop a sense on how the use of smartphones in South African school classrooms can enhance teaching and learning, with particular reference to teacher and learner interaction on content issues; wider access to information; curbing the issue where there is a lack of computer devices in schools.

Firstly, the use of smartphones in South African school classrooms will enhance interaction between teachers and learners on content issues beyond the borders of the school, to “improve and argue current educational practices” Upperman. For instance, a teacher can formulate a What’s-app group chat for a particular learning area to provide extra assistance for those learners who are struggling to understand certain topics regarding the learning area content. It is not always possible or easy for teachers to interact with their learners on school related matters outside of the school premises, but with the use of smartphones, this is possible. Teachers and learners do not need to be in class to actually interact, this also eliminate the finite problems facing the school classrooms in terms of communication and the comprehension of learners. Learners ought to concentrate more with the use of smartphones by coming prepared to class from home access internet information, hence they comprehend sufficiently knowing also what to expect for the coming lesson due to this long distance communication of teacher and learner.

Secondly, smartphones allow learners to reach a vast of information at their own time. In the past learners access to information was limited, the only way they could access books with the required information and this was time consuming compared to smartphones. Thank to technology an operating system found in smartphones software called Android was developed by programmers around the world. This system allows learners to access learning and teaching materials or supporting information by browsing through the internet using Google. According to Orlando a good education for learners today is knowing how to use technology to learn, communicate and work with ideas. Nowadays almost every learner owns a smartphone so it is much easier for them to look for information when given projects, researches or assignments at school in a particular subject. “Smartphones as a tool study comes with thousands of applications that will allow learners to create and review learning contents anywhere anytime”.

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Thirdly many South African village schools lack computers; smartphones curb this issue for learners by providing access to the internet, typing etc. When assignments are given out by teachers, teachers expect learners to adhere to deadline, and submit on the allocated date. Even so it is typically unfair to a learner who has no computer at home or at school to do research, this is where smartphones intervenes because ”mobile devices often are cheaper and less bulky than regular computers”. Smartphones consist of various applications that you find on traditional computers, as such it becomes simple for learners to type and do research on their smartphones, hence during class the teacher can work efficiently with learners and work according to the allocated curriculum time, with no learners left behind with their work.

Even though smart phones allow student to reach a vast of information; enhance interaction between teachers and learners beyond the borders of the school; provide internet access, typing to South African village schools that lack computers – some people still argue that smartphones cause distractions due to occasions such as when learners are inter-texting on their smartphones during class sessions. As the use of smartphones in school classrooms is gradually becoming an acceptable approach of teaching and learning, various challenges are faced by schools (teachers in particular). A recent study, for instance, found that learners who took notes on their devices acquired lower grades compared to those who manually took notes with the pen and paper method. Smartphones as a teaching and learning tool, make learners undergo remoteness, scrutiny, and lack of relation or interaction. Instead of being seen as a powerful learning tool, smartphones are considered by most as a problem and a challenge in the classroom. To an extent, “many schools have implemented policies to restrict cellphone use by learners and teachers”. This goes to show just how much the use of smartphones in classrooms do as much harm as it does good.

Even so, smartphones do more positive than distracting if you look on the bright side. They allow wealth of creativeness in students. Cellphones are becoming extensively essential in schools around the world. Education technology builds the skills of learners and makes their work effective. It provides effective work which can be used efficiently by both teachers and learners in South African school classrooms. “Mobile learning facilitates learning that can be used to achieve socio-economic goals that respond to problems”. Smartphones enhance teaching and learning because it attracts those find traditional learning boring and generalized. It also gives motivation to those who find it difficult to engage in an educational setting that is traditional. Smartphones in South African classrooms offer learners and teachers a flexible way to approach teaching and learning. It also helps with learners of learning differences.

From what has been discussed from the above points, it is seen that the use of smartphones in South African classroom, assist in assembling a strong interaction between the learners and their teachers. This assistance is also seen when smartphone applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook, allowing the teacher and leaner to send instant messages and engage in chats on these social media applications. As discussed, it is also evident that smart phones are essential and allow learners to access academic information even out of school. Further it is examined from the text above on how this use of smartphones in classroom, support and assist this communication of learner and teacher sufficiently. The concept is clear that if a teacher appoints learners to do a certain task over instant message, learners do not need a computer or be frustrated on where to locate or obtain the source of information, smartphones can support this demand by as it also provide internet access and Google web browser.

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