Classrooms and Cell Phone Action

The big news of the day comes from a new survey’s results on cell phone use in the classroom. To be honest, I’m not surprised with the findings. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell students to put their phones away. The school I worked at had a “no cell phone” rule in which first time student’s were caught with their phone out they received a warning; then the next time students had their phones taken away. I never took the phone away, but I made it more of a respect thing. And students listened. Apologies followed whereas not-so-kind words were delivered to other teachers.

For me, like I said before, I do get the distraction element, but students are also using cell phones productively. And cheating, as shown by this survey, I mean that is out of the question for what I want and what will be going on in my classroom. But I can’t help but wonder if schools weren’t so adamantly against cell phone use if the use would go down or maybe even begin to turn into more “productive” classroom activities (i.e. assessing student learning through polls). I’m not saying kids should be texting during my instruction — again goes back to setting up a classroom built upon respect — but I can’t say that I don’t believe there could be some legit uses of cell phones within the classroom walls.

And on another note, I just find it sort of funny that all of the news reporters were so “shocked” that kids were texting everywhere (even in school). Actually, one day I asked my students why they were texting and who in the world were they texting anyway. One student’s response (which made the whole class laugh): “I’m actually texting my mom. I forgot my soccer cleats and was trying to get her to call the school so I can get an early dismissal to run home and get them. You can see if you want!” Go figure!

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2 thoughts on “Classrooms and Cell Phone Action

  1. Oh cell phones. sigh. I’ve told my students that when I give MY child a cell phone (or whatever technology we have then), I am going to call it during school hours to see whether it’s turned off or not. If it doesn’t go straight to voicemail, that means it’s on, and they lose it! hahah My students thought that was the meanest thing ever. But seriously, shame on those parents!! Why are they responding? They know the rules, too! The student-parent communication adds another problem: when there are issues/problems at school, it only adds fuel to the fire (we had an actual, unplanned lockdown for an hour and students were texting parents and causing alarm/panic). Part of a “too-much-information” age, I think. Sometimes, more information just DOESN’T help.

    I’ve wondered if they weren’t so forbidden, would they lose the appeal? Hm. Honestly, I just don’t know how they have that much to say to each other! They gotta text the person they’re going to see in the hallway in 45 minutes?? I don’t have that much to say to my friends!

    I’m glad the respect thing worked for you. I didn’t guilt trip mine, so that could be an interesting route. I did try to implement my own policy of one warning, then take it up myself and keep it till the end of class/day. That didn’t really help, though. Now I use school policy: one warning, but 2nd instance I take it & give it to the office. It sounds harsh, but I had a lot fewer cell phone problems all around once I followed that policy. I also never had a student curse me out for doing it. Guess it depends on the school atmosphere & student body.

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