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The current environment is cluttered with distractions for young, impressionable students. The world moves quickly and so does the attention spans of our youth. For many educators, captivating the student and keeping their minds on task is a tiring process.

The growth of technology has increased the amount of time students spend virtually engaged. Students who are texting, chatting, and tweeting are also avoiding schoolwork. As a result, cellphones, iPods, and other mobile devices have been banned from classrooms.

Can a cellphone be productive tool in the classroom?

The days of teachers demanding students to spit out their gum and be quiet have changed to “put the phone away,” and “log off Facebook.”

However, what if the new technology was embraced and used as an educational tool?

A number of schools around the country are taking advantage of new media. They are using social websites to stay engaged with students. More importantly, they are connecting with parents by keeping them updated on a student’s progress, assignments, and activities happening live in the classroom.

According to USnews.com author Lisa Nielsen, teachers and students preferred to use cellphones rather than a computer for instant access to the Internet.

Educators use group text features, already installed on most phones, to increase a parent/student/teacher relationship inside and outside of the classroom. Teachers are sending out vocabulary lists, notes, and study guides straight to the students phone. The group text feature is also an excellent tool for emergency purposes; within seconds school officials can warn students and parents about road closures, weather, and safety issues.

With the growth of technology and media outlets in the virtual world, the importance for educators to keep up will increase. So many schools are also going online allowing students to learn and work remotely. Cellphones, laptops and social media in education can undoubtedly be a productive tool within the classroom. Rather than prohibit the use of these tools educators must work to engage the student on their level by using a system the student has already grown comfortable with. I just hope we never see LOL as a vocabulary word in the future.

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