Students, teachers consider effects of AirPod usage in school

Students have been listening to music through earphones for longer than anyone can remember. Many can recall the original Beats black and red logo printed on the side of their headphones. Now, Apple’s AirPods seem to be the new Beats with students wearing them everywhere around campus. A large number of students have been seen wearing AirPods in class and teachers say that it has been disrupting their learning and teaching. The administrators have not yet caught wind of this situation as it has only just arisen, however, it has been witnessed by many students.

People have been used to listening to music at school for a long time. However, the thing about AirPods is that they are lightweight, convenient, smaller and have a long ranging Bluetooth distance with your Apple device which makes it convenient to wear them when their devices are still in their lockers so students can keep their phones in their lockers while listening to some sweet tunes.

Seventh grade student Danny Smadi listens to music through his AirPods during class. Many students felt that listening to music while working boosts their productivity. However, others argued that it depends on the type of music. For example, relaxing, instrumental music is better for focus than catchy pop tunes.

Additionally, as the Student Handbook clearly states on page 13, students can only be punished if they are caught on their phones or wearing headphones during the school day. “During school hours, phones and headphones must remain in lockers unless a teacher gives specific permission to use them for educational purposes only.” Some people may argue that listening to music can help them focus and learn better but for other people, it’s only a distraction.

One of the biggest problems with wearing AirPods is that they’re a lot easier to conceal from teachers than regular headphones. For example, they could be hidden under a hood or by long hair. According to Ms Erica Jones, the middle school assistant principal, AirPods are considered electronic devices and should, therefore, be treated as phones are. “I think that there are ways in which students seek to conceal their use (of AirPods) whether it’s with the hood on or maybe some type of sweater or with their hair but I think that it’s still considered an electronic device and one that could be confiscated if you’re using it when you’re not meant to.”

Another issue is that AirPods have to be relatively near the student’s phone so that would mean that most likely they have their phone on them whether they’ve left in their locker,  in a pocket or simply in a folder of some sort. However, many students believe that listening to music helps them concentrate.

Although AirPods are distracting to have in schools they can also be helpful to students learning. For many people, they feel that music can help them focus and they can get their work done quicker and more effectively. Seventh-grade student Iona Sweidan said that listening to music helps her perform better in class. “Music helps me focus, actually be more productive and have fun doing work.”

Sweidan isn’t the only student who feels that way. There’s a large number of students who prefer to listen to music and work more productively when doing so. However, there are also concerns over listening to the “wrong” types of music that distract students. Salaar Elahi in fifth grade said that “Listening to meditation music helps me focus but loud rock doesn’t.”

Ms Jones believes that students only wear AirPods when they’re not allowed because some teachers do let their classes listen to music while others don’t. “I think that (listening to music) is again up to the discretion of the teachers so if you’re having a workday where you’re working on a paper or there’s independent working time and a student asks if they can listen to music while doing it and a teacher okays that, then I think that’s perfectly fine.”

However, Ms Jones also stated that the decision is completely up to the discretion of the teacher,  their classroom norms and what they’re comfortable with.

AirPods are yet another example of where the final decision comes down to what the teacher decides so the policy varies from class to class.

About Luisa Marcotti ('25)

Features Editor 2019-20

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