Sample Report Paper on Should Penn State Ban Using Smartphones in Classes

Should Penn State Ban Using Smartphones in Classes

Executive Summary

This report tries to answer the question: should Penn State ban the use of smartphones in class? Towards this end, a comparative analysis, feasibility study, and cause-effect analysis have been carried out and findings provided. The use of smartphones in learning institutions has been banned because they cause distractions to students who spend a lot of time on social media, texting, browsing, and playing games.

The second part of the report examines the feasibility of using Smartphones in class as part of the learning strategy. The report has established that smartphones can be used successfully in class. However, banning the use of smartphones increases students’ performance by 6.4 percent. In spite of their drawbacks, a properly implemented policy on the use of smartphones can increase students’ achievements by 85%. This is because students can use smartphones to access necessary information.

The last part of the report is a recommendation to curb the challenge facing Penn State University regarding the use of smartphones in class. In spite of their negative impact, the use of smartphones under certain guidelines has been seen to be effective and should be tried at Penn State University. The problem can be solved by abiding by the following guidelines as regards the use of Smartphones:

  • A classroom policy, which states when it is acceptable to use smartphones.
  • Allowing students to use smartphones to complete quick online tasks like research

Comparative Analysis

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to undertake a comparative analysis of the use of Smartphones in class at Pennsylvania State University. The use of these Smartphones in class has become a controversial issue in society in general and Pennsylvania State University in particular. Proponents of the use of Smartphones in class claim that they contribute positively towards the education process. On the other hand, opponents contend that Smartphones only end up distracting students from their class work. Thus, the main drawback to which smartphones are subjected is the belief that these devices distract the attention of students from the learning process instead of helping them with it.

This research will endeavor to find out whether the use of smart phones in the classroom should be banned. The report will analyze the best option for Penn State University to take regarding the use of smartphones in class. To begin with, the research provides background information on the topic in the form of a short history. It also introduces general knowledge on the use of Smartphones in class. Secondly, the purpose, scope and methodology of the report will be provided in order to give a definition and direction to the paper. This is followed by the research problem that discusses the issue in detail. In this context, the pros and cons of using Smartphones in class will aid in the evaluation and comparison of this issue. These pros and cons will be based on such aspects as performance of the students, accessibility of information, and efficiency. The paper will finally provide a conclusion based on the findings and evaluation, and then give a recommendation for the best course of action concerning the use of Smartphones at Penn State University. The report will also give recommendations on whether the college should allow or ban the use of Smartphones.

Background

While technology is supposed to improve the learning process, its integration into the learning process has always been associated with certain challenges. New technologies are perceived as being distractive and for this reason it was even hard to integrate the use of computers when they were developed in the 1980s. Decades later, the debate as regards the role that technology plays in education and achievement of students is still very intensive. Today, such debates still take place in society, despite the fact that the use of smart devices has become acceptable as an integral part of the learning process and they are now widely used in every school in the U.S and across the world.

A similar problem arose with smartphones as well. These devices that are an extension of a cell phone were created primarily for communication and entertainment. This was the reason why most of the people did not initially consider smartphones as a serious device for education purposes. The result of such opposition saw Pennsylvania lawmakers draft a bill that prohibited the use of smartphones in school buses, in schools, and at school-sponsored activities. The bill influenced public protest and opponents petitioned against it on grounds that a ban on the use of smartphones would influence their children’s uncompetitiveness at the national and global level.

In 2013, the debate regarding the use of smartphones in schools became intensive after Penn State abolished the ban associated with the use of the smartphones is schools and adapted “bring your own device” policies. These policies allow students to engage in e-learning through their use of Smartphones, thereby enhancing the learning process. Nevertheless, not all cases led to the anticipated results. This compelled the institutions to ban the use of Smartphones all together.

 

Purpose, Scope and Background

The purpose of this research report is to undertake a comparative analysis on the use of Smartphones in classes in Pennsylvania State University. This will not only inform the students on the pros and cons of using Smartphones in class, but will also inform The Pennsylvania State University on whether to ban or encourage the use of Smartphones in class.

The scope of this report was limited to The Pennsylvania State University and the use of Smartphones in the classroom. As such, the use of mobile phones and laptops will be excluded. In addition, the use of Smartphones in the library will also be excluded from the analysis.

            As part of writing and completing the research evaluation and comparative analysis, research will be carried out to gather necessary information regarding the limitations and advantages of using Smartphones in the learning process. Different sources of information such as journals, reliable sources, and reports have been consulted to provide the research with the necessary information to enhance comparative analysis. Analysis of the problem will provide an answer on whether students’ use of Smartphones be banned in class.

Problem

The purpose of this report is to undertake a comparative analysis on the use of Smartphones in class in terms of how they affect students and the learning environment. This comparison is necessary as it will make it possible to develop an appropriate recommendation and decision on the matter.

One of the controversial issues in schools in the U.S is the use of smartphones in learning institutions. The primary reason why these devices have been banned in institutions is because they have the capability to distract students’ learning process instead of assisting them. Proponents of the use of Smartphones in schools argue that if used properly, Smartphones can significantly contribute to the educational process. For example, at Penn State University, students have to be on a proper school page during class hours and the tutor has to disconnect them remotely to ensure they do not visit other sites.

Another concern over the use of phones is that students may cheat during exams using these devices. However, schools where phones are allowed insist that students who already have phones should be secluded during exam time. Affected stakeholders such as parents and education groups’ believe that allowing students to use Smartphones would be detrimental as they could spend all the day chatting with their peers. To solve the problem, some schools have limited access to network and blocked some of the sites that could potentially affect the students’ learning process. However, if children are not able to text on the break due to lack of connection, they will do so in class where there is connection.

Considering that we are living in an era of high connectivity with technology, it would not be prudent to ignore the advantages of using smartphones for learning, as this is a process that can transform schools into a technology-free zone. The question of this study is whether smartphones should be banned or adopted as tools of learning.

Conclusion

            This part of the report provides a comparative analysis concerning the use of Smartphones in class. From the analysis, the ban on the use of Smartphones in Penn State University depends on the pro and cons provided. For instance, the use of Smartphones results in distractions, time wastage, delays in the performance of students, and cheating during exams, but contributes significantly to the educational process.

 

Feasibility Study

Introduction

            The report examines the feasibility of the study by considering the pros and cons involved in answering the question: Should Penn State ban the use of Smartphones in class? The decision to ban the use of Smartphones in class should be passed based on substantive research of ITS pros and cons. The use of Smartphones and other mobile devices in class is not only complex but a controversial one. Some supporters of the use of Smartphones in class opine that allowing smartphones in schools enhances students’ learning. However, schools that have banned students from carrying Smartphones have seen a clear improvement in their test scores. According to CNN Money (2015), teachers complain about disruptions, while some parents opt to give their children smartphones.

This paper defines the purpose and scope of the study, followed by background information on the use of Smartphones in class. Under this section, more detailed reasons on whether the use of Smartphones should or should not be banned will be provided. Lastly, an analysis of the data will be undertaken to determine whether the use of Smartphones is a feasible course of action to take in promoting learning in schools or whether they should be banned.

Overview

Purpose

This report examines the feasibility of using Smartphones in class as part of the learning strategy. All data will be critically analyzed to form a conclusion to determine if Penn State University should adopt or ban the use of Smartphones in class.

Scope

Technology has certainly become important in class as it promotes learning and education. However, the topic is very complex and controversial and the use of Smartphones in class has elicited different reactions from various quarters. Therefore, an evaluation of the pros and cons will provide necessary information to determine if implementing a policy over banning or the use of Smartphones in class is feasible.

Methodology

Information collected from different sources such as articles, journals and other significant online sources and surveys has been used in this study for purposes of analysis.

Background

            The use of mobile technologies and their implementation into the education systems have always been a problem to the learning process. In spite of the challenges involved, the use of computers for learning has become integral in most parts of the U.S. For instance, the use of computers and laptops in learning is widely applicable, but the use of Smartphones in class has been questioned based on their impact on students’ performance.

The use of smart devices such as Smartphones and laptops has a profound effect on teaching and learning. For instance, technology has enabled a new level of personalized learning (Nilsson, 2015). It is worth noting that classroom distractions created by personal devices are much more significant compared to the conventional methods of passing books from one student to another. Notably, the perception regarding the use or banning Smartphones in class has elicited mixed reactions. This is despite the perception by technology supporters and innovators that advancement in technology should be perceived as a means of increasing productivity (Murphy & Beland, 2015). Modern technology can be applied among students to improve performance. However, potential drawbacks coupled with distractions have been the primary hindrance to their adoption. Although mobile devices provide students with easy and immediate access to games, texting, the internet, and social media, review of literature has suggested ambiguous impacts on students’ achievements in class. In addition, some of the negative effects of using Smartphones in class include their negative impact on students’ learning outcomes and financial resources (Murphy & Beland, 2015).

According to Prigg (2014) the use of Smartphones in class has negatively affected students’ ability to concentrate and perform better. This supposition is based on a study carried out by the Michigan State University whose findings revealed that students of all abilities were highly affected by the use of Smartphones in class. For instance, even students with high levels of intellectual abilities were distracted when they used Smartphones in class (Prigg, 2014). The results also indicated that poorly performing students were more affected as they scored even lower grades in their exams. This is because they use Smartphones for non-academic purposes and this reduces their concentration rates. Students, rather than concentrating on their classwork, use their Smartphones to read news, Tweet, and send non-academic emails (Prigg, 2014).

Other than the negative problems of using Smartphones in class such as cheating in exams and distractions, different concerns have been raised as regards their introduction into the classroom. Some of these concerns include texting, social media networks (as a distraction), sexting, bullying, and creating social-economic inequalities in the school given that not all students can afford smartphones (Riedel, 2013).

Pros of Banning Smartphones

A study by the London School of Economics on the ban of Smartphones in class established that there was a closer association of using Smartphones in class and improved test scores (Chang, 2015). According to the researchers, the effect of banning Smartphones in class was equivalent to an extra hour a week in school learning. The findings also showed that the use of Smartphones by low achieving students distracted their concentration further, thereby reducing their performance in class. In their conclusion, they noted that reducing the use of smartphones and phones in schools improved students’ performance. These findings have been supported by a study carried out at the University of Texas and Louisiana State University which established that not bringing Smartphones into the classroom positively influenced the students’ grades by 6% (Mathews, 2015).

Other than reducing distraction among students, banning the use of Smartphones in class reduces cyber bullying which is a major technological vice. According to Mathews (2015), the use of Smartphones allows students to post harassing messages or photos online, which can result to cyber bullying. Moreover, Richard Murphy and Louis-Philippe Beland of the London School of Economics “”The results suggest that low-achieving students are more likely to be distracted by the presence of mobile phones, while high achievers can focus in the classroom regardless of the mobile phone policy” (CNN Money, 2015, p. 1). This implies that the use of smartphones among low-achieving students was detrimental and affected students’ results.

Benefits of Smartphones

Notwithstanding the negative impacts of using Smartphones in class, there is the possibility that they can be used as learning tools (Nobile, 2015). Norris, Hossain and Soloway (2011) have noted that Smartphones can be used as learning tools based on a study carried out in Singapore which shows that they have help to enhance education and promote a students’ achievement in the classroom. The findings showed that properly implemented policy to use smartphones increased students’ achievement by 85%. Norris et al. (2011) also established that the use of smartphones was necessary as it prepared students for global market jobs and positions, in addition to equipping them with the necessary information. For instance, in the classroom, Smartphones were essential learning tools

Conclusion

The use of mobile devices in classroom has been in existence for a long time, although it still remains a controversial issue. It has its pros and cons that have been considered in this feasibility study. Most of the studies have established that integrating the use of Smartphones in class negatively affects students’ academic performance. In addition, the cause distraction and their ban increase performance by 6 percent. However, it would be naïve for colleges to assume that the use of Smartphones is not important. Nonetheless, it can be concluded that the use of smartphones in Penn State should be banned.

Cause-Effect Analysis Cause-Effect Analysis

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to recommend a solution to the challenge facing Penn State University with regard to the use of Smartphones in class. The use of technology in education allows personalized learning, which is an important thing. However, most of the learning institutions in the U.S have banned the use of smartphones. One of these institutions is the Pennsylvania State University that provides students with food incentives to stay away from smart devices. The primary problem is that Smartphones cause distractions and students can use them to cheat in their exams.

This report begins with background information on the topic, followed by an assessment of its purpose, scope, and methodology. The problem is further discussed and solutions provided. Lastly, a conclusion is provided with recommendations to deal with the issue of smartphone in class.

Background Information

One of the major components of educational systems is technology. This has been promoted by the advancement in information technology and the internet that allows both students and teachers to have access to information and communicate (Kemp, Preston, Page, Harper, Dillard, Flynn & Yamaguchi, 2014). In other words, technology is perceived to increase the amount of information that is both available and accessible. In the U.S, computers are widely used and have become part of the learning process.

The use of Smartphones in the U.S, especially in District schools has been opposed and even banned because of their negative effect on the learning environment and the students. As such, Smartphones are not highly considered as education tools. Such opposition was enacted into a bill in the Pennsylvania State that prohibits the use of Smartphones not only in class, but also in school buses and school-sponsored events. However, proponents of the use of Smartphones have been championing for a lift of this ban, citing the numerous advantages of using smartphones to improve students’ performance.

The use of Smartphones in schools has become a major issue at Penn State University. This is because Penn State has banned the use of the Smartphones. The current issues as to why Smartphones have been banned is because they have created worries about overuse, distraction, visiting inappropriate websites, cheating and sexting, among others (Norris et al., 2011).

Purpose, Scope and Methodology

The aim of the report is to answer the question: should Penn State ban using smartphones in classes? In an effort to answer this question, the report will provide a solution that addresses the problem at hand.

The use of smartphones and other smart devices in class is a major problem faced by all Learning institutions in the U.S. However, the report concentrates on the state of Pennsylvania and specifically, Penn State University. Information from case studies related to the use of Smartphones in class has been used.

Research was done by collecting information and data necessary to address the problem under study. To come up with appropriate information and data, the student searched journal databases, online sources, and websites to collect up-to-date information on the topic. Surveys carried from different regions have also been used and applied in the case of Penn State.

Problem

            Problems regarding the use of Smartphones in learning institutions continue to persist in the U.S with Penn State having banned their use. Distraction is the primary reason why Smartphones have been banned from learning institutions. This is because students tend to spend a lot of time on their Smartphones, especially on social media sites. Banning the use of Smartphones has positive effects on the education process, according to a study carried out by the London School of Economics, which established that students’ test scores increased by 6.4% after schools banned the use of Smartphones (O’Sullivan, 2015).

Solutions

            So far, banning the use of Smartphones at Penn State has been effective. However, this does not mean that students will not be tempted to use or carry Smartphones to schools. For this reason, there are different solutions that can be used rather than banning the use of Smartphones entirely. The proposal to allow the use of smartphones is informed by three case studies in the U.S. One of these is the strategy adopted by Cimarron Elementary School near Houston, Texas where the administration gives Smartphones to students, which lack messaging or calling capabilities (Hennessy, 2014). The major uses of Smartphones in classrooms are to have access to the internet, receive and send emails, schedule assignments and homework, web searches, spreadsheets creation, graph science projects, and scan QR codes. The outcomes have been impressive in maths and science compared to the previous year (Hennessy, 2014).

Mounds View High School in the Twin Cities is the second learning institution that allows the use Smartphones and tablets. In spite of the drawbacks, support from teachers has resulted to positive results. Southwest High School in North Carolina has been on the verge of improving students test scores using smartphones. The results have showed that students using smartphones are 25 percent better in math (Hennessy, 2014).

Conclusion

            The use of Smartphones in learning institutions has been banned because they cause distractions, with students spending a lot of time on social media sites, texting, browsing, and playing games. The problem can be solved by allowing the use of Smartphones in learning institutions, especially in Penn State University. In spite of the negative effects, guided use of Smartphones in classes can be productive and effective.

Recommendations

            Suggestions made include:

  • Have a classroom policy that states when it is acceptable to use Smartphones.
  • Encourage active, creative use of digital devices in class. 
  • Allow students to use Smartphones to complete a quick online task, like research.
  • Have proper policies rather than banning the use of smartphones in Penn State University.

References

Chang, L. (2015). Ban smartphones, improve student grades. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/ban-smartphones-improve-student-grades/

CNN Money. (2015). Kids do a lot better when schools ban smartphones.Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/18/technology/smartphones-schools-ban/

Hennessy, M.A (2014). Using Smartphones (and other PDAs) in class. These days its cool. Retrieved from http://lessonplanspage.com/using-smartphones-and-other-pdas-in-class-these-days-its-cool/

Kemp, A. T., Preston, J., Page, C. S., Harper, R., Dillard, B., Flynn, J.,  & Yamaguchi, M. (2014). Technology and teaching: A conversation among faculty regarding the pros and cons of technology. The Qualitative Report, 19(6), 1-23.

Mathews, K. (2015). 5 Reasons to Ban Smartphones in School. Retrieved from http://www.care2.com/causes/5-reasons-to-ban-smartphones-in-school.html.

Nilsson, B. (2015). Personal : Navigating the Minefield Of Distraction. Retrieved from http://www.extremenetworks.com/personal-technology-in-the-classroom-navigating-the-minefield-of-distraction.

Murphy, R.,  & Beland, P. (2015). The science of why schools should ban cell phone use. Ideas Education. Retrieved from http://time.com/3855586/cell-phone-student-achievement/.

Nobile, P. (2015). When Schools Ban Smartphones, Students’ Test Scores Improve. Center for Digital Education. Retrieved fromhttp://www.centerdigitaled.com/k-12/When-Schools-Ban-Smartphones-Students-Test-Scores-Improve.html.

Norris, C., Hosain, A., & Soloway., E. (2011). Using Smartphones as Essential Tools for Learning A Call to Place Schools on the Right Side of the 21st Century.  Educational Technology, 18-25.

O’Sullivan, D. (2015). Let the kids use their phones in class. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/may/20/why-a-ban-on-mobile-phones-in-school-is-not-the-answer

Prigg, M. (2014). Should smartphones and laptops be banned from classrooms? Researchers find even the smartest students are distracted by social networks at school. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2663068/Should-smartphones-banned-classrooms-Researchers-smartest-suffer-use-social-networks-school.html

Riedel, C. (2013). Does the Smartphone Have a Place in the Classroom? Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/02/04/does-the-smartphone-have-a-place-in-the-classroom.aspx