Cell Phones in the Classroom

21 02 2017

There are so many technological improvements in the daily classroom. The educator must take into account that the technologies that are available both for the classroom and for personal use can all be used for the production of classroom educational enhancements. Students carry a device with them all the time, and we as teachers, should be looking to put that device to good educational use. Are cell phones really useful in the classroom overall? The answer to that question is very dependent on what the teacher does to support learning in a new environmental style.


Photo Credit: shig.

Many teachers may find that the cell phone use in a classroom can be a large cause for distraction. However, it does not always need to be the case that a cellular phone is causing mass distraction among the students. Although this may seem like a challenge, it is possible for both the educators and students to use these popular devices for good in the classroom. Some of the applications I have tried and used successfully include:

Mentimeter – This is an application that is web-based and requires an internet connection. By entering the pre-created quiz code, the educator will provide the opportunity for students to complete a short quiz that will display results in a fun and easy to read way.


Kahoot- This is both a web-based and cell phone application software that requires an internet connection. It allows the educator to create questions or surveys that allow participants to gain points and compete for the highest overall score. It provides instant feedback and the required answer so students know how they did.


Remind- This is both a web-based and cell phone application software that requires an internet connection. It allows the educator to set up events, fundraisers, school trips or order forms for students to fill in and complete. It automatically reminds students and parents about things that are coming up in the near future. The application also allows the educator to send out short announcements that are instantly delivered to phones.


Class DoJo- This is both a web-based and cell phone application software that requires an internet connection. It allows the educator to give rewards or take away points from students based on their behaviors or schoolwork. This application also allows for the user to communicate their online portfolio. Students would upload images and write about their school work that they want to share with their parents.


Although these are all applications that I have used positively, it comes with the struggle of ensuring that students are really on the appropriate site and not just using snapchat or other non-educational application instead. Students must be accountable for the work they are submitting. The option of not completing the surveys or not using the appropriate applications would be something that would be considered inappropriate at the time. This would possibly permit the educator to inform the student that they have lost their ability to use the personal device. In my classroom, students are trusted to be using the proper applications during the times we need them. At no point in time should cell phones be out during lessons or at times that were not given permission. This limits the off task amount of time that students are using.

The long and the short of the story is that applications and online functions can be a good thing for all people involved in the education sector if the positive is focused on.



9 responses

21 02 2017
Natalie Schapansky

I appreciate your post, Adam. I try to use cell phones in the classroom as well, but I know there are always those that take advantage. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt at times as I do find that cell phones can enrich our classroom experience. The downfall is that not all students have mobile devices so I still have to have other media available when I want to use a class activity like mentimeter or kahoot. How do you find your student/device ratio in your classroom?

22 02 2017

Great post Adam. Even in post secondary education we as instructors battle with the use of appropriate use of cellphones. I myself have no issues students using their cell phones in appropriate and professional manners. I personally believe the use of cell phones and appropriate educational apps in the class often leads to buy- in and increased engagement with my students.
I’m wondering if you have used “class DoJo”? I can see this working with the middle years students?

22 02 2017

Yes I have used and still use class dojo in my classroom. It works really well and provides a good incentive to stay on task and volunteer with things around the school.

23 02 2017
Sarah Wandy

You should check out this article that Ashley Murray shared on Twitter. It relates perfectly to this discussion. I think we need to teach digital citizenship rather than ban cellphones outright. ‪http://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/canada/toronto-school-bans-cellphones-from-classrooms-1.3295140#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=twitter&_gsc=2prvwoJ‬

24 02 2017

This is really fitting given the article that I shared mentioned above by Sarah. It really bothers me whens schools ban cell phones because they can bring a lot of positives into the classroom and the learning experience. Interactive tools like you mentioned above are a great way to engage students and also assess along the way. What we really need is to teach students how to be responsible and respectful when they have their devices.

They need to know what is considered appropriate and inappropriate use of their device. When is it okay to have your phone out? When should it be kept in your pocket? Is it okay too look up information on your phone? Absolutely, but there is a time and a place. Should you be on your phone using Snapchat, Facebook, or messaging during class? Or course not!

I think the important thing to remember is that adults struggle with these same issues so we need to do our best to ensure we are modelling good digital citizenship and responsible use.

24 02 2017

You made some very good points here! Thank you for sharing this with me.

24 02 2017
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25 02 2017

Great post!! Like I have said before there are battles I am willing to pick and there are battles I am not, cellphones are definitely one of those battles. As you mentioned why not use them to our advantage for educational purposes, it is our job to ensure students are using them appropriately and that we are modelling/teaching good digital citizenship. 🙂

26 02 2017
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