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: 351
Latest Activity: Apr 9, 2018

Discussion Forum

Using Social Media in the Classroom?

Started by Krista Attix. Last reply by JFarrow Oct 12, 2014. 2 Replies

Cell Phones in Education

Started by seth.hendrickson1. Last reply by Brenda Tomeo Jul 12, 2014. 13 Replies

Mobile app programming

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

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Comment by Brian Rock on October 9, 2017 at 9:24pm

I've had positive experiences with cell phones in the classroom (Poll Everywhere, BYOD for research, listening to music while reading, etc), but my district has never really embraced BYOD fully. On and off, my school tries to implement a zero tolerance for cell phone usage. Just this week, I was reminded by my supervisor that the principal had a zero tolerance policy and that he would be confiscating phones and/or headphones if he saw them in a classroom.

I always thought this was counterproductive, though. Students need to learn to use phones responsibly at some point - so it might as well be in your middle or high school class. Otherwise we send them off to college or the workplace without appropriate social skills, and they flunk out of college or get fired for being too attached to their phones.

Comment by Paula Rogers on August 5, 2014 at 8:57pm

I have my students use iPads and my phone for a math app. I set up the Reflector app so the phone and ipads display on the smartboard. This way I am able to see exactly what they are doing on all of the devices.

Comment by Ashley Grant on August 5, 2014 at 8:38pm

I definitely agree with many of you who have stated the struggles of incorporating cell phones within the classroom. While there are many negatives in my mind (or maybe that is just be being a skeptic), I do think that there could be times within the classroom that cell phones could be beneficial. If the students do not have any access to any other types of devices, I would recommend using cell phones occasionally. For example, I have used a website that allows for students to text in their votes for certain things or individuals. In my mind, using the cell phones would be a more efficient way than some of the paper and pencil methods. 

While I do think that for some grades signing a pledge would actually be helpful, I think that once the students get older and more tech savvy they might begin to stray away from the "appropriate usage". I know that most school districts already have an Acceptable Use Policy that the students sign, but I honestly do not know how many students actually know what is within this document that they sign every year. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get older students to "buy in" to the appropriate ways to use this technology?

Comment by Brenda Tomeo on August 4, 2014 at 7:23am

Good point Ashley about not allowing the cell phones in class for the reason that students would not be allowed to use it on the state test.  It is best to use things which then can be brought to the state test.  If students are familiar using an app which helps them solve problems and then not use it at the state test level, that could have drastic effects on the final scores. 

What about those who do not have access to the app or have a smart phone which enables them to use the app.  I like the idea of all students having the same device, such as the graphing calculator and wonder about cheating as well.  Who is to say that students would not then go off of the math site and trades answers or surf the internet when they should be participating in class.  The amount of monitoring of students actions and loss of instructional time outweigh the benefits of using cell phones in the classroom.  I would like to see cell phones used in a beneficial way to make learning fun and creative or discuss with teachers who do offer this in class or school and see what are the benefits and negative aspects. 

Lauren mentioned having students sign a pledge at the beginning of the year which deals with Digital Citizenship and accepting the actions and responsibilities while on cell phones or the internet as they might be held accountable.  But I still question the validity of the cell phones in the classroom.  I do not see the value and think it causes more problems within the classroom, especially where I teach.   With my new classroom this upcoming year, I do plan on having students sign a pledge which encompasses their actions online, and other things I would like to hold them accountable to. 

Comment by Ashley Grant on July 20, 2014 at 4:28am

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 adfasedf asdfadsfa 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.


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