Students using phones in school

Students using phones in school

September 24, 2018 / blog / Comments (0)

From primary/elementary school to secondary/high school it’s pretty much accepted that most students take their
 phones in schoolIt’s one of those first world problems; Should we allow children to bring their phones into the classroom?

Phones in school; according to some studies students access their phones over 10 times a day whilst at school, this totals many hours a week of in many cases preoccupation with unrelated non-school work. The resultant distraction creates a headache for the people who are faced with consequences of falling behind in class, parents, teachers and even students themselves suffer when they have to manage themselves to catch-up. Some studies suggest that as much as 20% of a lesson is wasted by students checking their mobile devices. 

What are the benefits of allowing phones in the classroom?
Some teachers agree there are some benefits to students having their phones like educational Apps that can provide additional learning support to students when teachers aren’t available 100% of the time, they can also incorporate digital learning platforms into lessons. 

Social media networks can increase students interest levels in some topics when they are asked to participate in class discussions, they have the option to communicate via text on platforms like twitter which for some students they feel more comfortable doing.
Links to further reading materials

To save time teachers they can utilise mobile phones in their lessons by sending links to students to access further information including discussion groups and video and image content. Maintain relevance and interest.

Accessing the web enables student’s to research more information on subjects and helps stimulate interest and discussion particularly if it’s not well documented in text books.


What is the reality of allowing students access to their phones.
As we all know it’s easy to get distracted online when browsing, we’ve all experienced searching a topic and ending up wasting time reading about something unconnected. The challenge for teachers is to regulate the use of phones for relevant classwork and avoid the temptation for being distracted which can result in a lot of wasted time going off track.

Human nature
Each time a student switches on their phones can they resist the temptation to check their social media feeds, messages and notices,  if everyone is doing this it results in a huge distraction to the students themselves and often whole classrooms.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” These days the insults are not necessarily spoken they are often written in online messages creating the basis of cyberbullying. A form of bullying that makes intervention more difficult to detect.

Cheat sheet.
Hand writing in ink test answers on the skin of your hands is a thing of the past, instead students can use their phones to access answers to examination papers, receive copies of exam questions before the exam begins. Young people don’t appreciate the consequences cheating in an exam and the long term lack of understanding if the student passes by cheating. Also the unfair advantage against those who have studied.

Communication via text only
Whilst the use of text does enable clear written communication it reduce the levels of verbal communication which as we all know are essential in teamwork and group exercises. We need to learn and be taught all forms of communication whether it’s verbal, written, computer code, Maths, body language they all have a use in life. We need to teach students the ability to learn and communicate both online and offline (audiobooks to paper books), face to face or Screen to screen. It’s about knowing when to communicate digitally and when to when to communicate traditionally.

In conclusion should we allow phones in schools?

There’s are as many pros as cons depending on whether you are a teacher or parent or student. The real issue is how disciplined and restrained can phone users be. Can teachers enforce effective use of phones so they don’t become a distraction in the class. Which means teachers need to adopt strict guidelines around their use to regulate them for effective classroom learning.

What are you experiences or beliefs as a student, teacher or parent allowing students to use phones during school?


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peter caush

Director The School Agency