No texting in class

Val Miller | Marlin Chronicle
Val Miller | Marlin Chronicle

By Stephanie Singer

What’s the most annoying part of college classes? Is it too much homework, professors that are hard to understand or the students who ask too many questions? For me, the most annoying part of college classes is when people use their cell phones in class.

In bygone days, students just used their cell phones for texting. They used various methods to avoid getting caught. Some of the female students would pretend to search for a lipstick in those oversized purses. In reality, they were texting. Others would text under their desks. The key to not getting caught was keeping the phone silent. Still, eagle-eyed professors were able to tell. Some professors implemented policies about cell phones for if a student was caught.

Things have changed. Cell phone users can do so much more than send and receive simple messages. They can browse the internet, use social media of all kinds, listen to music, watch a movie, play games, read e-books and more. It’s a world of technological advancements at their fingertips, available anytime.

Every time someone uses their phone in class, it’s disruptive. Notifications are a major offender. Tick-tock! Ding! Chirp! Ring-ring-ring-ring-ring! Pop! Beep! Click! The touch-screen keyboard is no better; tap-tap-tap as a student posts to Facebook or sends a message. Swoosh! Message sent! Problem solved! Well, the solution is sadly short-lived. Things are going smoothly until the reply comes in. This send-reply process becomes a vicious cycle, and a noisy one at that.

Some of you are probably protesting by now. If the noises are so terrible, why not just keep the phone on vibrate? Seriously, the vibrations aren’t nearly as obvious. Well, think about it. Some vibrate settings are stronger than others. I’ve witnessed a chair shake a little. Also, the reactions to something buzzing in one’s pocket range awkward at best to obnoxious at worst. No need to go into details; we’ve all seen it.

OK, how about setting a cell phone to silent? No notifications, no vibrations, nothing. Sounds like a great idea; however, what happens when the professor flips the light switch to off to deliver a PowerPoint lecture? That bright light that emanates from the cell phone draws the attention away from the presentation and the professor.

Just how can students learn with all these noises, vibrations and lights? The answer to that question: not easily. Not only does it hinder learning, professors have to stop their lecture and tell students to put their gadgets away. This wastes precious instructional time. If enough people play around with their phones at the wrong time, it holds back the whole class.

I hope that you’re serious about your education, and that you don’t want to ruin the education of other students. When you’re in class, show some consideration and hold the phone.