BACK TO SCHOOL
Caribbean L 50 ife, Aug. 23, 2019 BQ
Mobile phones are ubiquitous. Most people
would admit that they’d rather leave home
without their wallets than without their
phones. According to statistics provider Smart Insights,
80 percent of internet users own a smartphone,
while more than 50 percent of cellphone users
admit to reaching for their phones fi rst thing
when they wake up.
Since more than 90 percent of today’s teenagers
own a phone, schools are forced to fi nd ways to include
cellphones in the classroom without having
them overshadow lessons or distract students.
A 2013 University of Nebraska-Lincoln study of
777 students at six American universities found that
the average respondent used a digital device for nonclass
purposes 10.93 times during a typical school
day. Students’ activities included texting, social networking,
and e-mailing. Many respondents cited
boredom and staying connected to the outside world
as motivating factors.
Until recently, many schools implemented strict
policies regarding phones in school. Some forbade
students from carrying them on campus or mandated
that students left them in lockers. Many
schools are now realizing the ways students can harness
the technology of cellphones in creative and innovative
methods. Plus, as smartphone capabilities
continue to evolve, educators are increasingly recognizing
the potential of educational apps and how
they can be used in the classroom.
Using mobile phones in the classroom for educational
purposes also may cut down on how much
the phones are used for nonschool purposes, such as
texting or checking social media. According to data
published in the journal Computers & Education, 80
percent of students admit that mobile phones can
hinder their ability to pay attention in school when
phones are not being used in conjunction with their
Schools vary in their rules regarding mobile
phone usage in the classroom. Some schools let
teachers decide, while others have more liberal policies.
The following are some ideas for broaching the
Research educational apps. A number of apps
and websites are educational. Whether students are
connecting via a phone, laptop, or tablet, these applications
can encourage class participation. Some
apps can report students’ progress to teachers in
real time. Remind101 is an app that can text reminders
for assignments and tests to students.
Teachers can monitor diligently. The image
of teachers standing in the front of the classroom
lecturing is becoming more and more obsolete. It’s
easier to guide students to stay on task while on cellphones
when the teacher roams the classroom to
keep an eye on phone activity. It’s more diffi cult for
students to engage in negative behaviors when their
phones are out in the open.
Cut down on tech expenses. Not every school
can afford to give each student a laptop or have 20 to
30 tablets in the classroom. When students embrace
bring their own technology, teachers can maximize
Cellphones are not going anywhere soon, and
schools are trying to fi nd ways to make them more
useful and less distracting in the classroom.
Mobile phones and their
place in the classroom
Teachers can look at ways to harness the power of mobile
phone technology in the classroom.