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students on the phone

I just had a conversation with a mother who was in a meeting with her child’s teachers over Google Meet for a few hours last evening. Parent-teacher meetings over the air? I would have killed for this in my day, rather than having to sit next to my mother whilst my teacher revealed I was the class clown.

When this mother mentioned the meeting, I assumed it was done via Zoom till she told me it was Meet. I would have guessed WhatsApp or Teams before Meet, but seeing Meet has its users is interesting.

Ever since the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, virtual meetings have become more commonplace. It looks like we needed to be forced to use these services to see their benefit.

This mother was glad she didn’t have to fill her fuel tank up and drive for hours to her child’s boarding school. All she needed was a data bundle.

With such a low cost to actually sit with her kid’s teachers, it’s even possible to have such meetings more regularly. Allowing her and other parents to keep up with how their kids are doing, rather than getting such updates once every three months, or even once a year like it was in my day.

This is why I am worried about the deteriorating service we are getting from our mobile network operators. We don’t want people to end up concluding that virtual meetings don’t work just because their MNO gives them dial-up speeds in 2023. That could set us back.

Back to the mother I was talking about. One of the topics of discussion in the parent-teacher meeting was that of …

Smartphones in schools

This debate has been had ad nauseam in this country and I remain shocked that the ‘keep phones out of our schools’ gang seems to be winning. I get where they are coming from but I still think it’s backward thinking.

The main argument against smartphones is that kids will abuse them. They will cyberbully each other, visit adult sites, waste time playing games and socialising and will also steal each other’s devices.

Sounds exactly like what we, the adults, do with our smartphones. We bully each other, with revenge p*rn a particular scourge on society, we visit shady sites, waste time playing games and on Facebook and we also steal each other’s phones.

So, maybe we need to be taught how to actually live with our phones.

I have to admit, I once was addicted to my smartphone. I would end days with a screen on time in the double digits. That is wild, having your screen’s phone on for 10 hours a day.

Maybe if we all got a little training as teenagers we would be able to responsibly use these phones of ours. If the reality is that we will have to learn at some point, why not just add smartphone etiquette to the school curriculum?

The subtle difference in internet use

We endure the negatives that smartphones bring because of the benefits. When connected to the internet, these pocket computers are pure sorcery. All the world’s information is just a click away. It changes how one thinks.

We need the instinctual reach for Google whenever a tiny little detail is in question in their minds. My generation can debate something for minutes before someone eventually comes to their senses and exclaims, ‘let’s just Google it.’

That’s my two cents on the matter. What do you think about all this? I know some of the benefits and drawbacks have been discussed so many times. I’m surprised we seem to have settled on a ‘let’s wait a little before making a decision’ stance.

Also read:

Zim govt established computer labs at over 1100 schools in 2022, election season is wild

This local e-learning startup is aiming to replace brick & mortar schools

UNICEF Zim announces initiative to increase connectivity in local schools

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

Please dial our USSD code *405# on your phone to buy airtime because this page will not work.

The post We seriously need to rethink our decision to keep smartphones out of schools appeared first on Techzim.

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