Cell Phones in Education


Cell Phones in Education

This group is where educators can discuss challenges and successes using cell phones in the classroom.

Members: 344
Latest Activity: on Sunday

Discussion Forum

Cell Phones in Education

Started by seth.hendrickson1. Last reply by Brenda Tomeo Jul 12. 13 Replies

Using Social Media in the Classroom?

Started by Krista Attix. Last reply by Krista Attix May 23. 1 Reply

Mobile app programming

Started by Bruce Lack. Last reply by Kimberly Caise Apr 21, 2013. 1 Reply

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Comment by Ashley Grant on Sunday

This year my school became particularly interested in whether or not we should allow cell phones within the mathematics classroom. Some of our high school classes are permitting the use of cell phones in class and we were wondering if we should allow our middle schoolers to also. Basically this whole discussion took place because some students and parents wanted to use a free graphing calculator application instead of buying a $100 graphing calculator. For our school, we determined that we were not going to allow the cell phones in class because of the added monitoring that would need to take place and also for the sheer fact that they will not be allowed to use the phone application when they complete state testing. For those of you who use the cell phones in a math class, how do you make sure that the students aren't just googling the answers? I really doubt that all of the parents and students would allow some type of administrative lock feature that locks the students into a particular app. In addition, does your school provide calculators for state testing or are the students still required to provide their own. 

I know that there are many benefits to cell phones in education, but wouldn't using a tablet be a little bit better within a classroom? It is bigger which makes typing easier and also provides a bigger screen for teachers to be checking up on students. I can definitely see the benefits to using cell phones in the classroom, however currently for me, the challenges out way the successes. 

Comment by Brenda Tomeo on July 12, 2014 at 2:44pm

I was not aware of BYOD until learning about the topic in class.  Bring Your Own Device, the purpose of encouraging students to bring electronics to school is an up and coming trend.  I work in a vocational training program, training and teaching students to become prepared to enter the world of competitive employment.  Cell phones are discouraged in the work place and often are distracting to others.  Students have a difficult time paying attention and focusing in on the teacher.  Students who have learning disabilities and other types of impairments find it difficult learning in large groups let alone using technology in a small group setting.  We encourage them to leave their mobile devices at home.  We do have one student who communicates via the iPad.  In this case, I applaud the use of the iPad for communicative purposes, and if we had more access to iPads for others, I would see the value.  However, when students use the cell phone to check out the time or to see the latest instant message or text, they lose valuable instructional time.  In the future as this trend gains momentum I wonder about students who do not have access to cell phones, how are they kept engaged?   

Although I do agree with the many points made by Krista in that students DO benefit from accessing their mobile device in class.  The ability to search the internet, use various apps and to communicate with peers related to school work is great.  I then wonder about students doing their own work and not cheating on exams and quizzes.  I also agree that students need to be aware of the digital rights and responsibilities while doing classwork on these devices. 

Comment by Mary Koch on June 8, 2014 at 8:55am

I never considered Andrew's idea, but its a great one. Having the students develop their own ideas for digital citizenship. I do have my students help develop classroom rules each year so why not let them help develop rules for technology? Students are likely to buy in and understand the consequences when they are the ones that developed them. Students in my classroom are always asking me "why can't I ...?" I would love to be able to answer that question by saying because you said it was wrong instead of because I said so or because its not allowed. Thoughts for how to being next years goal and rule setting lessons are already running through my mind. Can't wait to try it out! 

Comment by Andrew Meade on June 7, 2014 at 7:15pm


   I think Aaron poses a very important question, and one that doesn't have any easy answers. Ideally, I would agree with Lauren's comments that schools should provide a digital citizenship education to each student to help decrease the occurrences of inappropriate cell phone use at schools. Also, measures should be taken to ensure that students are invested in using technology appropriately. Let's be honest, most students aren't invested in AUPs because often these documents suffer from wordy vernacular and are not written with students in mind. We tell our students all the time to think about the audience when writing essays, yet AUPs are almost never student-friendly. Also, when students are part of the rules-creation process, they tend to have more respect for the rules. I think students and teachers should not only discuss district-wide technology norms, but also generate classroom technology rules. It's important that teachers allow students to play a part in deciding how cell phones will be used in the classroom (or at least give the impression students are helping set the rules). Unfortunately, there will also be a few students who do require monitoring and whose destructive cell phone practices could jeopardize the entire BYOD experiment. I agree with Aaron that these students do have to be monitored in some fashion, but how can consequences be carried out while still providing equal access to educational resources? 

Comment by Aaron Curley on June 5, 2014 at 9:02pm

One question I have is how do you keep students on task during class if you have them participate in BYOD days?  I have heard of teachers or school using cell phone blockers to help keep students on task because they cannot access their cell provider.  I can see how this would help especially since the network at school is locked down and does not allow access to much social media sites.  Unfortunately cell phone blockers are not free and my school does not allow them.  So I pose the question again.  How can I keep students on task during BYOD days?

Comment by Lauren Lucca on June 4, 2014 at 5:30pm

My school district has mixed feelings about a BYOD policy. The high school students are allowed to have their phones out whenever they want, whereas the elementary and middle school students are not allowed to have them out at all- they need to be in a locker or at home. The high schoolers are constantly texting and instagraming their friends during class hours. I teach at the middle school and we just received one ipad cart to share for the entire building. Naturally, it is hard to share one cart with every teacher, so the fact that most students have their own cell phone would be very helpful. I think if you discussed Digital citizenship with the students at the beginning of the year and made them accountable for their actions (sign a contract or something like that), then the students would be very responsive. I have tried to incorporate technology into a few of my lessons so far and my students are always really engaged and excited about my lesson. I think if you earn your students trust and make a deal with them- that you can use technology in the classroom as long as they are responsible- then you can reach a whole new level of learning and they won't abuse the privilege as much. I am looking forward to coming up with new ideas this summer and next year for incorporating cell phones and tablets into my classroom lessons.

Comment by Aaron Curley on May 25, 2014 at 8:10pm

I have had many different ideas about cell phones in class.  When I first started teaching I thought that cell phones were an integral part of students lives and should be used to make education more effective.  After I began teaching I changed my mind and I thought that cell phones had no place in the classroom.  Now I have come back around and I think that BYOD days are helpful in allowing students to learn in the classroom.  Currently my school has a no cell phone policy, but teachers can request to have BYOD days.  I have used byod days sparingly but it students engagement was very high on those days.  I am hoping for an ipad cart or something else with a tablet but until that happens cell phones are the best alternative.  Almost all the students have one and they have better phones that I do.

Comment by Andrew Meade on May 25, 2014 at 8:42am

Although my school district does not currently have a BYOD policy, I can imagine that soon it will embrace such an idea. Like Emily, I also had similar questions about how to monitor students' activity on their own personal mobile devices. The applications that Adelina shared seem like great tools that students can use in the classroom, but I feel that they only provide a limited degree of control over student cell phones. What if some students are using an obscure operating system? Also, all these applications need to be installed on student cell smart phones, which brings up issues of compatibility and administrative access. I can't image students and parents giving permission to teachers to view students' screens, black out screens, or use any other administrative monitoring function. If BYOD policies are going to be truly successful, I feel that administrators and educators need to address the core barrier to BYOD policies... a lack of digital citizenship education in school systems. There is no way that all students' private devices can be monitored all the time, but if schools invest in teaching students about digital citizenship and the importance of proper technological etiquette in the classroom (which goes way beyond having them simply sign an obfuscated AUP), less resources will be needed to monitor student use. This holistic solution would undoubtedly prove challenging and require perseverance, but I feel that it's the only practical and sustainable option when pursuing BYOD policies.  Also, if our school implements BYOD policies, I feel as though mini-tablets/smart phones still need to be purchased to help fill in the gaps and provide devices for students who don't own a smart phone. One of the core pillars of digital citizenship is digital access, and when 80% of the class brings in a device, 20% are automatically at a disadvantage and probably have less access to educational resources (especially if instruction is planned around these devices). School smart phones/tablets would have to be provided to those other 20%. Although this practice would ensure that all students had equal access to technology, it could alienate some students and highlight the socioeconomic inequalities that exist in all classrooms. I've also wondered how this socioeconomic gap can be bridged short of buying and assigning a school device for all students (which is not practical for the majority of US school systems).

Comment by adelina moura on May 25, 2014 at 3:10am

I share with you my video in which I present 12 ways how I'm using students mobile devices in my classroom.

Emily take a look to these website;




Comment by Emily June Hughes on May 24, 2014 at 8:16pm

Does anyone have any great tips with using cell phones in their classrooms with a manageable way to monitor all of the students and what they are on and what they are doing while using their cell phones?  I walk around constantly, I try to keep a close proximity and I also try to stay behind the students in order to make sure I am able to see all their screens at once.  Does anyone have any other suggestions?


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