Can we make school and smartphones compatible?

* Cell phone

A teacher sent me an interesting note about smartphones in classrooms. It was timely because I had a recent conversation with a friend about her teen’s new smartphone.

I remarked a few months ago that her daughter differed from most teenage girls who always seem to be looking downward — at their phones, their computers or their iPads. Her daughter was always looking outward at the world around her, full of interest and questions.

Her mother lamented a few weeks ago that her daughter now had a smartphone and was spending a lot of time looking down at the screen. (She and her friends had a deep attachment to a funny photo sharing program.) Mother and daughter weren’t talking nearly as much in their car rides since the phone arrived on the scene.

In evaluating the impact of smartphones, proponents talk about what kids get to see and what connections they get to make via mobile devices. But have we considered what they don’t see and what connections they don’t make as a result of their focus on a six-inch screen?

Read more: Is texting in school a right? Can we make school and cell… | Get Schooled | www.ajc.com.