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iPhone, uPhone, everybodyPhone!

September 18, 2012

OK…so this week I am going to discuss the topic of smart phones.  Obviously, with the presales of the iPhone 5 topping 2million orders this week alone, there is a need to discuss who actually “needs” a smart phone, as opposed to who just “wants” a smart phone. 

Businessmen/women–Does having a smart phone make you a better buisness man/woman?  Some might say, “It depends on the type of business”.  I think that having a smart phone makes for a better communicator, which in turn makes for a better business man/woman.  However, the actual smart phone does nothing.  If you have an innate ability to “close a deal” the need for a smart phone is not an issue.  And on the other side, if you are not a good business man/woman, a smart phone isn’t going to make the difference.  Smart phones can make it so that you can check e-mails on the go…but if you are a good business person, you can wait until you get to the office to check your email.  The contacts (names and numbers) on a phone are more important than the features of a phone.  A good business person can use the old-school flip phone with an address book and be able to communicate with clients in a way that would foster good business practices.  No.  A good business person does not NEED a smart phone.  Perhaps it might make communication with clients a bit easier, but it is not a necessity.

Students–Does a smart phone make you a better student?  NO!!!!!  A “good student”…a “successful student” will be a solid student with or without a smart phone.  For decades we have gotten around without smart phones…and students have performed just fine.  Owning a piece of technology does not a better student make.  And, let’s face it…most school districts do not allow phones to be used in class.  My school has a strict “if we see it, we take it” policy.  Then we have to deal with upset and angry parents…”why did you take my son/daughter’s cell phone?”  It is a battle that is just not worth the fight.  In this case, students do NOT need a smart phone…they want one.  They want one so that they can keep up with their peers.  They want the freshness of having the newest.  The latest.  The greatest.

So, then.  Who actually does benefit from owning a smart phone?  Apple…Verizon…AT&T.  And all of the other businesses who sell and support the services.

After it is all said and done, a smart phone is actually just a toy…a gadget…all connected to a phone.  I mean, with the popularity of text messages we are really just one step away from being back in the ages of the telegraph.  Communication has become so unpersonal.  If we are not going to actually SPEAK, there should be a “turn off phone” feature, or a “delete phone” app.

That being said…yes, I own a smart phone.  Does it make me a better teacher?  Nope.  I consider myself a pretty effective teacher…and I don’t even use my smart phone at work.  Does my smart phone make me a better graduate student?  Nope.  I study hard and put in the hours of work necessary.

What my smart phone does, however, is make me a better communicator. I can keep in touch with my wife.  It gives me piece of mind when I travel (I can call AAA if needed).

So, iPhone…do uPhone?

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  1. Jodie Gustafson permalink

    Hello Mike,
    This is a really fun blog and I enjoyed reading it. The funny thing is I just recently went back to my old flip phone because I felt the money it cost to use my Droid was a waste. I also found the droid harder to use then my old flip one. It would take me forever to answer calls when all I needed to do was flip open my other phone. I guess it was helpful when I was interning with FLVS but I really do not need it now. The only thing I miss about the Droid was being able to use the keypad. My old phone does not have a keypad, and it is not easy to text with. My next phone will have not be a smart phone but it will have a keypad.

    Jodie G

  2. The use of cell phones in the classroom is a great idea. Many school districts cannot afford a mobile phone for every student, nor can every parent afford one for their child. But, if enough phones were available per classroom, teachers could create small groups within the class and each group could share a cell phone. This would allow all of the students to benefit from the learning experience and diminish the idea that cell phones are only available to the financially capable school districts.

  3. Zulay I permalink

    I agree a great businessman/woman is not defined as being great by having a smart phone. They are more accessible and can communicate faster to emails and messages but their overall quality of work depends on them. Before the cell phone was even invented people conducted successful business without all the technology we have today. Students also fall into this category. Some schools use cell phones now as part of an exercise in a lesson. It is used as a tool that will help engage and motivate students in learning. If cell phones did not exist I believe schools and teachers would still be effective.

  4. anthonyroma permalink

    I agree that, with a smart phone, there is no necessity for its use in the classroom. It is a communication tool and a toy. Yes, there are apps that can make life a bit easier, but other than that its a toy. Now before anyone takes up the cause for twitter and chat to help with homework or something, I just want to say that these modes of communication are toys as well. chat is just replacing the phone call, and twitter is just for gossip. hard work and studying make one a better student, not a smart phone.

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