Monday, April 6, 2015 - 15:15
Smartphones reluctantly used in 85 pct. of Dutch high schools
A majority (85 percent) of high schools in the Netherlands make use of smartphones in education, although most do so reluctantly. This is according to a survey done by NOS among 137 high schools. Half of the schools allow smartphones in the classroom, but they may only be used with the teacher's permission. A quarter of the schools allow free use of smartphones. Only 10 of the participating schools do not allow use of smartphones at all. Almost all of the schools that use smartphones in teaching allow students to look up information on the device. A large majority make use of educational apps and use the device for tests and quizzes. In one third of the schools teachers use smartphones to communicate with students. A number of schools stated that the accepted the smartphone because there was no other choice. A comprehensive school in the province of Groningen wrote that a ban just leads "hassle and angry parents". Other schools emphasize that they aim to encourage proper use. "It depends very much on how you as a teacher handle the phone: the more you 'normalize' its use the fewer problems you have with phones." the Erasmus College in Zoetemeer writes. A school community from Valkenswaard thinks that a ban would be counterproductive. About half of the schools see the smartphone as an enrichment in their teaching methods, but most of the schools also have problems with the device. Only 15 schools did not report any problems. More than half of the schools state that students do not concentrate as well and do not pay attention because they are busy with their phones. But not all schools blame smartphones for the lack of concentration. "Students are naturally inclined to play with their phones during lessons." a secondary vocational school in Rotterdam said in the survey. "This is not much different from the time that they sent each other notes on slips of paper or stared blankly out the window." Bullying via smartphones is another problem in more than half of the schools. According to a practice school in the Randstad, the device leads to "sexual harassment, impaired social interaction. Extortion, misuse of the internet. Sexual pictures of themselves and each other." According to a school in Overijssel, teachers are also sometimes the victim. Students film teachers when they're angry and distribute the video among themselves. "They photograph tests and sent them to classes who write the same test later." According to the school they also use it as a cheat sheet by photographing pages of a text book.