Monday, June 16, 2014

Phone Abuse V.3

My teaching career has rather neatly coincided with rampant cell-phone abuse.

I started in the mid-90s in Asia. Asians have always been early adopters, of course, but it was mainly just beepers when I started. By the second time I was in Thailand in 1999, however, all the cool kids had cell phones, and they were happy to annoy their teachers and impress their classmates by making and receiving calls during class.

Ditto when I first got to Russia. Only the rich people had cell phones, and I taught a lot of rich people. All of whom were trying to impress each other with how many calls they made and received.

This all cooled off a bit in the mid 2000s, as phones became cheap and omni-present. Soon everybody had one, so it was no longer something you could use to impress others in and of itself.

Until the fucking iPhone came along, of course.

Then having one of those became an instant status symbol in Russia, especially before they were commercially available there, and you had to obtain one abroad and get it unlocked. (I seem to remember there was even a pic of Putin using an Iphone before they were sold in Russia, which the western press thought was kind of funny.)

Then as Iphones and other kinds of smart phones became more widely available, it cooled off a little.

Until 3G and 4G internet connections with phones became very cheap and fast.

Now, fuck. A person can do anything with a phone -- watch movies or live sports, video-conference with their families, play computer games, do fucking day-trades on the stock market. Whatever.

The big problem here now is not just students using their phones and even tablets and various devices -- but they use them so much that they need to charge them again, so all the electrical outlets suddenly fill up with plugs every time you turn your back on them.

So, 2014. Just TRY and get students to pay attention in class. We supposedly have a no-phone policy at the place I work, but being too humorless about phones, as mentioned, will probably get the students complaining about you or perhaps making up stories about how you called them monkeys or something.

Old cartoon on this subject

No comments: