I think that students use of cellphones should not be allowed in class. Cell Phones today are more like computers that allow students to access the internet, play games, and use applications that can create music or read sports stories. Having these sorts of distractions at your fingertips in the classroom can be a huge draw to any student. Regulating usage of phones at school in general is a completely different issue, but regulating their use in the classroom should be watched carefully. If a student is texting under  their desk all day they lose a lot of what the initial attempt was to teach them. Limiting these distractions is important. I think that being said, teaching students how to use their cell phones for educational purposes by showing off some applications and talking about their power as an education device could be a very useful. Cell phones have become a fact of life, so limiting their usage in inappropriate situations while informing students of their ability to help them in real-life situations is a balancing act that must be attempted.

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I agree with you about teaching the students to use the cell phones appropriately, but I am not sure showing and talking about the apps, without letting them use them will work. Maybe that is not what you meant.

My experience with not allowing cell phones in class does not work. Students will sneak in the text whether it is allowed or not. And if it is not allowed then you find yourself in a battle with the student when you ask them to hand their phone over. With that said my plan is not perfect and there are times that students turn in their phones. But it is rare.

My rule is that any and all technology is allowed if being used for academic purposes. However students also know that if they are all done with their work, or if they ask then they can check and or send text. Quite often I just have to ask if their using the phone for academic purposes and if they are not, they are honest and put it away (for the hour).

I think that if the school culture is conducive to cellphones in the classroom and it is implemented properly, it works and should be allowed. Not every single school will benefit from having cell phones in the classroom. Students are always going to be sneaking in texts, no matter if you allow cell phones or not. You won't be able to see every single screen all the time either. 

There are many educational applications and activities that you are able to do with your students that they enjoy. Cell phones in the classroom should be strictly for educational purposes. If you have a good rapport with your students and can trust them, they should be able to handle an activity that they are using their phones during. 

I'm a Principal at Saline Middle School with over 1200 students.  We are three years in as a BYOD school and it is really working well.  We had a lot of educating to do for students and staff, however we have a strong plan and the students for the most part are responsible.  Our teachers, if they are open to using mobile devices set up lessons that are appropriate for students to use their cell phones.  It is about consist educating of our students and teaching the proper use for mobile use.  

I think the problem is not so much cell phones as it is students allowing themselves to be distracted, as you alluded to.  In some ways, it seems like the "easiest" thing to do is to ban anything that might cause a distraction, but I'm not sure that prohibiting mobile devices provides the best service to our students.  Once they leave our classroom and go to the next or go to college or enter the workforce, they are going to have to learn to overcome those distractions.  I think students would benefit from being taught how to identify appropriate and inappropriate times to use their cell phones and other mobile devices while they're in middle and high school.  It does have the potential to create more work and even frustration for teachers, but I think the life lessons as well as the education benefits can overcome these factors.  I also agree with David that consistency is key (both within classrooms and as much as is reasonable across the school).

I completely agree with you about teaching students to overcome distractions.  It's an easy answer to just ban cell phone usage in the classroom, but what does that do for our students?  They live in a world where cell phones are available constantly and when they move on to higher levels, they have to know appropriate uses of their mobile devices.  It seems like the same adults who are willing to ban the use of cell phones in the classroom for students are also the ones who have their cell phones at meetings.  Learning appropriate uses of mobile devices is a life skill that needs to be taught and I don't think our students are being taught that.  

I taught adult ed classes to young adults and OSY.  I didn't use cellphones as part of my classes but I did allow them to be used when not lecturing.  I found that students would use them appropriately when the lessons were engaging and would abuse them when they felt disconnected from the lesson.  To help keep control, students were required to keep their cell phones on top of their desks/tables.  those that abused the rule had to keep their phones on my desk for a week.   Consistency of applying clear rules and engaging lessons are the key to dealing with cell phones in the classroom.  If i were still teaching, I would use the various apps that would allow me to incorporate the phones into the classroom more.  Allowing the phones before other teachers did also gave me a bit of social capital with the students.

This year students can use cell phones to text in the hall ways and study halls and upon teacher approval.

I have had to tell students to put away their phones, only to be told that they are allowed to have them out in other classes.

 

I am catching students on snapchat and other apps that they are not using for academic purposes. I agree with Bruce that consistency is key.

I didn't have a problem with students taking a picture of their work, or notes that they had completed on dry erase boards

or taking a picture of the homework posted on my dry erase board. 

 

Like some of the other posts here, I believe that much of the debate surrounding cell phone usage in the classroom centers on "appropriate use."  I have been teaching for seven years at the high school level, and have grown up on the cusp of being a digital native.  I may not have been one of the first to adopt a smart phone, but I have never been one to ignore their utility, and one might even argue now - their necessity.  We live in an ever changing and exponentially advancing technological world, and to limit the use of such a powerful tool via a "cell phone ban" in schools strikes me as incredibly shortsighted.

I teach in such a school where a "technology" ban currently exists, students are "supposed" to put phones/iPods away upon entering the building in the morning, and may take them back out at the bell at the end of the day.  Anyone who has taught at the secondary level probably has a good idea of how well this policy works.  I have allowed iPods in my room for six years, and phones for about the past four - mainly as a means to listen to music.  I teach Studio Art courses, and a vast majority of our class time is dedicated to individual work - as such the students focus much better when they are listening to music.  

With the spread of the smartphone, brand new avenues for accessing information have been opened up in my class room.  Almost all of my upper level students (Art II, III, and IV) paint, draw, and sculpt from reference photos stored on their phone.  The inclusion of high-quality cameras on most models makes impromptu reference shots a breeze.  And, on a moment's notice, I can pull up examples of other artists' work that pertain to the specific student with whom I may be speaking.

I believe the key, as others have stated, is keeping a watchful eye on students who "lose focus." Not for an instant, we are all human, our world is changing, and our notions of patience and focus are as well; so if a student takes a quick break from working and checks a text - no big deal.  But if they have spent the last several minutes blasting out messages to their friends, checking Facebook, or playing a game - that's behavior that needs to be addressed.  

And that's how I manage cell phone use in my classroom.  If the technology is being leveraged in a manner that is conducive to learning and appropriate in the Art classroom - excellent.  If a student is abusing the technology and off task - then I address it and redirect.

Fun discussion here, looking forward to hearing more thoughts!

Hi, everyone, I think the same like you. cell phones in class is like having a toy in class, students are going to play instead of paying attention to the teacher, and the worst is when students take photopraghs to other classmates or teachers in an uncomfortable  manner. For example, when a teacher is angry.

I agree.  I know of several students who have been suspended or even expelled for taking and posting pictures of their teachers, for example, when bending over.  I'm glad there were some repercussions of these actions. I would agree to let students use their phones in between classes and lunch time.  I believe we are fighting a losing battle with banning them all together.  I don't feel students are being guided on how to effectively use technology.  It's kind of funny how teachers feel we need to educate students on their technology behavior, when most technology is just as new to us as it is them.

I agree with you. I think that cell phones should be allowed to be carried for educational purposes, but should not disrupt the learning process of the classroom. I like the idea of teaching the students to use them appropriately and incorporating them into the curriculum because I think it would really keep the students engaged and excited about using their phone to learn in class. But there is definitely a line between appropriate usage and inappropriate usage.

Seth,

You made some really good points about using cell phones in the classroom. I currently work at a school district that is on the fence about mobile devices (BYOD) in the classroom. At the high school level, students are allowed to use their cell phones during class to search the Internet, use educational apps, and communicate with classmates on school-related topics. At the middle school level and below, cell phones are strictly prohibited. While it is obvious that high school students are more mature than our middle school and intermediate-level students, I still feel that they could benefit from using their phones in the classroom. Through my graduate program that focuses on technology, I have come across a ton of apps that I would love to use in my classroom. I think that my students could benefit from using these programs, and would certainly enjoy doing it. I think that we have to embrace the fact that our society is changing and technology is becoming more and more prevalent. Many students would prefer completing an assignment on their mobile device versus a pen and paper. They are more fluent and find it more engaging. As you mentioned, there needs to be a lot of instruction and reinforcement of appropriate use of technology in school. Students need to take place in many lessons regarding technology prior to being about to use cell phones. They need to constantly be reminded of the rules and expectations. I think that students will be eager to use their mobile devices, and many will adhere to the policies put in place.

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