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How Do Smartphones Affect Secondary Students English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 3236 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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As technology advances and so does the threats posed to its users increase. However, as technology develops it serves as the backbone of our modern ever-changing world. With the wide availability of the so called “SMARTPHONES” in the mobile market major concerns have risen to the usage of them by students all over the world and as a result the effects are drastic.

The research question that was examined is as following.” How do smartphones affect secondary students and what are the impacts they have on education?” The scope of the research was based on my school as a core foundation and the world in general as a comparison modem which allowed me to attain the overall view of the effects.

I prepared questionnaires which I handed to students at Sandford international school (see appendices) to 20 IB students, and they filled it and gave it back to me. I also interviewed some teachers to get a detailed and specific opinion from their thoughts. The results gave me an idea on how scholars themselves have been affected, and I used the results for my further analysis in the essay. This essay dealt with the problems associated with mobile devices in comparison to education. I analyzed both the advantages and disadvantages before I reached my conclusion.

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I carried out my secondary research over the internet and textbooks. The essay focused on the problems experienced by many scholars and what are the different ways in which they can avoid this. I have then concluded that smartphones have affected many students including the way they learn at school and I have suggested on how students can help each other overcome the problem.

Word count: 284


[1] Failure amongst secondary school students is a global issue. For the last decade Smartphones have become part of our daily lives. We can use smartphones to read the news through the internet, send music via Bluetooth, stream live videos, access YouTube, communicate with friends and family across the world at any time or even create breath taking effects for both picture and videos. Along with its growing reliance of Mobile phones and technological development, however comes a problem that many students face in Schools. The ease of being able to carry these phones into school students at Sandford international school are finding it very hard to cope with classes without easily being distracted. As a result, the abstract nature of intellectual property with regards to smartphones has become a bigger issue. Usage of mobile phones in schools is a growing concern for many schools across the globe which is easy to dismiss as a trivial issue, but can be considered as a powerful social force.

[2]Smartphones can be defined as phones that are combined with a computing platform and can perform differently than a normal feature phone would. A major concern amongst teachers and parents is the amount of time spent by students playing with their smartphones while in Sandford international school. Although mobile phones are an epidemic around many schools worldwide, some schools are widely known for being the leading perpetrators on allowing mobile phones to be used in school. This brings up the question: How do smartphones affect secondary students and what are the impacts they have on education at Sandford international school? By examining this question along with, potential solutions can be proposed in order to help cure this problem. IB students have become so reliant on mobile phones that it has created a social cycle that has twisted many of these students. Although progress is being made towards controlling the usage of these smartphones, there is still a long way to go before it can be reduced to a controllable level.

[3]Smartphones are portable devices that are combined with the functions of a cell phone and that of a computer. Producers say the processor inside a smartphone acts as the device’s brain, handling most or all of the device’s central processing functions on a single integrated circuit, or chip.

In today’s ever-changing world everything is being made better. From the first cell phone ever made, to today’s apples iPhone 5 the difference is really visible. In a period of 20years, massive changes have taken place in the Smart phone industry from when it was first introduced in 1992. For Sandford’s students it has mostly contributed to the major problem that many of them now face, attaining grades [4].


So what is a so Called “SMARTPHONE” and why is it popular?

A smartphone is a mobile phone built on a special mobile computing platform, with more [7] advanced computing system and connectivity the mobile phone can perform differently from a feature phone would normally operate, an example of a Nokia’s smartphone can be seen on figure 2. It is merged with computer communication technologies which allow us to take internet calls for instance Skype, Nimbuzz and many others.

Figure 2: showing a Nokia type of a [6] Smartphone

[8]The popularity of the smartphone grew, in part, because of services like Exchange, and their ActiveSync and Push Email services. People loved the idea of being able to access their email and do business while on the go. With the first smartphones, it was difficult to manage a calendar and contacts because they had to be updated on too many separate devices. Exchange allowed people to update information once and have it show up on all the other devices they used instantly.

3G networks and Wi-Fi data portable devices like smartphones persuade students to spend more time using these highly influential/interactive devices rather than they would spend on studying independently. [9]Students are now much lazier and very dependent on their handheld devices and as a result work is rarely done. An example I picked out at Sandford international school. If Students have school work they do it the night before it’s due, by simply downloading a PDF file or word document onto their smartphones and accessing it the next day.

Social and Ethical impacts/primary research

[10]Cell phones purely have a negative effect on the social and ethical behaviour of students.

There are many social and ethical impacts concerning mobile phones. As ethics are the ways in which people behave in other words it’s a system of principles and morals. So how do mobile phones affect how people interact with each other, communicate or at the least live with each other?

The ethical and social issues according to my research that may arise as a result of using smartphones in Sandford School are:

They reduce the social standard in which people interact amongst each other

Change the way people behave

Create fights amongst peers

affect students regular activities

The social impacts are associated with the breed a culture of introverted, isolated people who are unable to deal with real human interaction because they have been trained to communicate with others through their mobile phones.

Smartphones can also turn Students into less sociable people whereas instead of talking or communicating with others in real life, they may prefer to communicate online. Privacy, If you don’t set a password on your messages or personal information then people can just take it and go through your personal data.

Primary Research Analysis

According to my research I carried out at Sandford international school, (please see the questionnaires in the appendix), I have concluded that the ethical and social issues that may arise are actually true.

My primary research shows that even though the teachers of Sandford International School told students that they couldn’t use their mobile phones during class time, students started to use it anyway. It also showed that when Students have their time off class they’d rather spend it on Facebook, twitter and YouTube. The school isn’t behind though because they know that these devices uses Wi-Fi and therefore the internet they offer is badly used by students and acts as a distraction therefore the school introduced and Installed the Cyberoam software to block websites like Facebook and others so that students couldn’t be distracted, But still students use their own 3G sim cards to do so. Also the school once used to use a rule that you shouldn’t have a cell phone because the school has a landline phone that anyone could use. But this was annoying to many students because before you called whoever you wanted to call you had to state your problem to the school secretary before she could allow you to call. Technological advancement has changed many things. Using a landline phone is out dated and students prefer to bring their own smart phones to school because they go through less trouble and save time.

Is using a mobile phone become such a necessity that students have to use it? Has it become an obsession or an addiction? I prepared questionnaires focusing on how much of the IB students use their smartphones for school related activities and etc.

70% of IB students in Sandford International School say that they are online almost all day because of their smartphones that are connected to the Internet most of the day. They are constantly receiving notifications and alerts from Facebook, Gmail, and twitter.

According to my results most IB students nearly (70%) in Sandford International School use their smartphones for non-educational purposes.20% of other students told me that with the smartphone in French/Spanish class it’s easy for them to translate words from English to French and vice versa with Google translator as can be seen on figure 2.

[5]Figure2: shows a student using Google translator in one of the language classes.

And the other 10% of the students that filled out questionnaires say that they just have their smartphones in school in case of an emergency and it serves as no distraction to them whatsoever.

I included the question ‘do you consider yourself addicted or obsessed to your smartphone?’ in the questionnaires I handed out to students. Only 15% said that they were addicted or obsessed. Which I didn’t believe because the ones that said aren’t addicted are the ones that are usually the ones playing with their phones in class. Studies found that high school students who used their smartphones endlessly to check their Facebook account at least once during a 15 minute study period achieved [21]lower grades. Below is a chart showing the percentage in which most IB students at Sandford use their smartphones for (figure 3).

[11]Figure 3: shows the percentage in which most students use their smartphones for.

The techno centric thing about the device is that students can type their notes using their smartphones and print wirelessly without the need of being connected to a printer via a cable. So how does this technology work?

[21] “When you first set up a wireless printer, you point it to the wireless network, or plug it into the router via Ethernet. Traditionally, these printers are not discoverable by Wi-Fi sniffers since they do not identify themselves or communicate with anything other than the access point or router.

Printer configurations determine who can send it mail. You can tell the printer to accept mail from anyone or from only certain names on a whitelist. It could be one whole domain or just one person. This prevents unauthorized use, should the e-mail address be compromised.

Once the sender is authorized and approved, the e-mail file attachment is downloaded to the printer, rendered in the appropriate format (Word, Excel, an image) and then printed.”

Across my research I was able to come across some advantages and dis advantages that I have outlined below.

Advantages of a Smartphone

To reduce both the environmental costs of cutting down trees, transporting it, manufacturing it into a final product and other costs, all large books, novels, story books and so on should now be digitized and used as [13]eBooks or PDF’S for a simper and faster access by students that have smartphones. The eBook technology is already in place and students with larger screens can now enjoy this technology at hand. A good example of an eBook reader is the Amazon kindle, shown in figure 6. The Amazon Kindle is very good because it helps reduce stock and space of books. The main disadvantage about this eBook reader though, is that it is expensive. Most textbooks have now been digitized. This eBook technology involves the student downloading the book, saves and uses it as a PDF file on the smartphone or PC rather than having a bag full of books which can easily get destroyed, misplaced and lost. I see this as the future of textbooks and exercise books. Everything will be digitized in the near future and students shall have no complains as to why they did or did not do the work at a particular time.

[14]Figure 6 shows an amazon kindle which can be used for eBooks as an example.

IB Students who are forgetful aren’t anymore as they can now write and save up reminders with an alarm to alert and remind them to the task at a particular time and day without forgetting or the urge to try and remember. Secondly the smartphone helps the student to always be on time.

Hence With the smartphone students can easily listen to music that they’ve downloaded onto their mobile phones and wouldn’t need to have an iPod because smartphones could hold up memory sticks with different storage capacity from 1Giba Bytes up to 16Giba Bytes, they could send and receive documents from other people, chat with others on [15] apps like mxit, ebuddy and many others.

Parents on the other hand don’t have to worry only if they have a Smartphone. These days some schools send [16] RSS feeds and emails of upcoming events, meetings, regarding the students and the school directly onto your mobile phone if you are subscribed to be receiving the notifications.

Lastly I gathered that IB Students can use their smartphones as seen on figure 5 to type notes as they are being taught as this would save on them using paper and it’s a faster method.

[17]Figure 5: shows a student typing notes while a lecture is being given by a professor

The disadvantages of a smartphone

Distraction. From my Primary research I gathered that most teachers told me that student get distracted in class by phone calls and messages. Student are usually told at the beginning of class and it also written in their student handbook that mobile phones should be completely switched off in class and when such an incident happens and the whole class is therefore interrupted and almost every student loses attention and starts talking. The impact of such type of distraction is usually big and can cause many students to start talking to the other students in result they all lose focus on what they were meant to be doing at the time.

Cheating. These smartphones can also be used by these students to cheat on their exams and tests for example, since students can’t call in exam halls, it could be through the use of text exchange with other students.

Privacy concerning both teachers and IB students. With technology advancement teachers have slightly started accepting the usage of the device in some areas and particular times of the school day. One of the reason is that, these smartphones are relatively very high in terms of video quality and recording length. For instance, a teacher could be having an argument with a student and student who’s connected to the internet would record this and upload it onto YouTube. As a result the video is then shared with other people, and therefore the privacy of the teachers is then ruined. The video can also be used for bullying if the incident was rapid and outrageous. Those students will use the video to ridicule the person through blackmail.

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Mobile phones are like a plague at Sandford and which is spreading quickly as more students are buying smartphones. Likewise the effort required to reduce such an effect is substantial. From this essay we have assessed the social and ethical impacts of smartphones, advantages and disadvantages, and solutions could be proposed based on the research question. However, some questions arise from the research. Will parents in collaborating with teachers be able to help the students against the smartphone problem? Is there an ultimate solution that addresses Smartphones social issue without requiring a radical reform?

[19]Since Smartphones were introduced back in 1992, many problems have risen subjective to this technological advance. More and more people worldwide are now very dependent on their mobile phones than ever before. From office workers to parents, from drivers to students’ smartphones have caught their attention. ”smartphones were created to help ease particular tasks that humans encounter daily and don’t have the time use other devices just in order to do their work”. The impacts of smartphones are many to list but, these devices are part of everybody’s day to day life whether we like it or not, including students. Therefore we might as well start using them for a good cause. I personally think that mobile phones will never solve the education crisis all over the world, but these smartphones can be seen as another tool kit that if it’s properly used by the scholars, it can enable both meaningful experiences and chances for a greater result in their studies. To add, the smartphone if it isn’t used without self-awareness, caution and a great care can be the inner core of self-damage, miss management, poor performance, bad and abusive behaviour. IB students need to understand and learn the great responsibility to go with the type of technology at hand. In this era the smart phone doubtless is a tool that has power to make the user his own boss in the digital world, but as it is true, the smartphone has both sides the positive and negatives. When interacting with the device we should consider that it can help its users just as much as it can destroy them so be cautious with technology. Students need to know and understand the concept that in order for them to succeed in their studies all types of distractions need to be kept away, and spent the time wisely, perhaps going over what they’ve studied during the day or week.

I believe that with proper usage of the smartphone it has the capability and potential to make its users smarter. Addiction is our biggest enemy at the moment and developers are doing that on purpose because they want to sell their devices globally therefore it’s up to the users to use the devices consciously. Attaining low grades is one of the outcomes associated with smartphones; however it’s sad to see that students have accepted the consequences with these smartphones. Think before you act.


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