Cell phones have quickly become one of the biggest nuisances to college professors, as students are spending more time playing on their device during class instead of paying attention. However, Seton Hall University in New Jersey has decided to launch a new effort that supports cell phones, even giving them out for free, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
Students at freshman orientation will be given free smartphones and prepaid cell phone plans. This mobile device will come with an application to connect the students to others as well as academic advisers. The school officials are hoping this will keep the students engaged in the school even when they are off campus, according to the media outlet.
“We need to be able to reach [students] and connect to them,” Michael Taylor, an associate professor and the school’s academic director of the Center for Mobile Research and Innovation, told the news source. “We want to [provide] a device that’s always on, always connected, and tends to always be with the student no matter where they are.”
Even though some teachers are hesitant, as they believe the phone will just distract the students more, others think it could teach the undergrads how to use their phone on a professional level. Students are excited about the new policy as well, but they are curious how the professors will use the device, the publication reports.
“We want to have faculty who are engaged and using the phones for specific things in the classroom, but the power’s really from the student perspective,” Taylor told the news outlet. “The bigger picture really is, ‘How are these students going to adopt this technology and use it in order to really make themselves more active and more engaged and more plugged in to the learning environment?’”
According to InsideHigherEd, professors across the country are starting to adapt to different rules with cell phones. Even teachers who never thought they would allow cell phones in their class are now making room for the devices.
Cell phones can also be used to notify students about any emergency information immediately, and cell phone tracking software can help students and the school always keep tabs on the device.