Cell phones pose problems, distracts classroom teaching

Trevor Marks

There’s probably not one student on campus that hasn’t heard the distracting ring of a cell phone during class. As the popularity of mobile devices grows, so does the debate as to whether they should be allowed in the classroom.

At Southern, there is no rule against having cell phones in classrooms, but there could be one coming in the future if students keep forgetting to turn off their ring tones.

“The complaints are getting more frequent every year,” said Kelly Wilson, director of the student support center. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a campus-wide ban goes into effect.”

Many professors believe cell phones are hindering their courses.

“Education here at Southern will be adversely affected should cell phones be allowed to ring in class,” said Dr. David Ackiss, professor of English.

Another concern addressed by Ackiss, was the possibility of students using test messages to cheat on tests.

Professors aren’t the only ones who find cell phones a problem though; students find them distracting as well.

However, there are those who want to continue to keep their mobile devices at hand during classroom hours.

Crystal Hill, freshman biology major, wants to keep cell phones in the classroom.

“Personally, I think cell phones are essential everywhere you go, even in the classroom,” Hill said. “What if there’s an emergency? There’s no other way family can reach you.”

In coming to terms with the growing use of cell phones, it appears Southern’s cell phone policies will remain subject to individual professors.

“Next semester I think it’s going to have to come down to posting a sign by the classroom door, reminding students to turn off those disrupting devices,” said Dr. Virginia Laas, associate professor of history.