Educators and parents have been debating technology use for a long time now. I don’t think that debate will come to an end any time soon. One area where you might be tempted to say “no phones allowed” is in the classroom. That might have been my first instinct as a teacher as well. However, in actual practice, I have found smart phones to be very useful tools in my classroom. It gives students access to extra, relevant information while we are discussing a particular topic. The camera function allows them to take photos of shared reading materials or marked pair assignments so they can use it at home. Within reason, Google Translate has also proven useful in my classrooms.
Of course, there must be restrictions and guidelines put in place to ensure EFFECTIVE use of technology in classrooms. While the classroom does not have to be smartphone free, I do think it should be social media free unless there is some special project being conducted. Respect. A certain level of respect for one another is expected in the class room, and the phone policy should reflect this.
Keri, over at The ELL Experience, makes some excellent points about how and why to use smart phones in the classroom. She also tackles some of the points against its usage. You should check out her post on the issue!