Will the Future Classrooms Regularly use Cell Phones?

Raquel Londoño Arias, Discoverer Staff Writer

Ever since the IBM Simon Personal Communicator was released in 1994, the first smartphone, its use and its models have  been perfected , it has increased cell phone use drastically. Cell phones have revolutionized the world, becoming an essential tool for most, its use can  cause many problems as well. The use of digital devices in classrooms such as laptops, iPods, tablets but specially cell phones have led to many studies regarding its impact in learning. In many educational facilities, the use of cellphones is completely prohibited, but everyday the problem is harder to address since owning them and constantly using them  brings many benefits.The solution to all the prohibitions, is analyzing cases in which cellphones are being successfully used as a learning tool in the classroom.

Starting with the use of Whatsapp, an instant messaging application with great features,  gaining great force worldwide, has increasing popularity in Israel, functioning greatly for educational purposes. Its use in the classroom deals with  joint teacher-student communication were there is peer to peer sharing of study materials, useful for seeking help, and coordinating study groups. Teachers can also use it for evaluating students writing performance, as well as it being very organized and instructional. According to the Informing Science Institute, a  survey done by Israeli students used questionnaires and mostly interviews, to extract very valuable data. Whatsapp, resulted as being a very efficient approach to communication were lots of learning skills were applied. Utilizing instant messaging has created modern communication that is indeed more practical and beneficial for students and teachers, inside and outside of the classroom.

The use of technology by students and teachers has been increasing and successful  in college classrooms, use of digital devices displays how they encourage more active learning overall. Study conducted in a state college in western USA indicates; about 75% of students were using their cellphones during lecture, the study showed that approximately they were checking their phones 7 times per period. Classrooms need to start producing more active learning strategies to keep the students focused and engaged, activities with clickers and Peer Instruction appear to be very prosperous.Teachers should start changing traditional methods, and including digital devices to develop multitasking skills in students, as well as preparing them for a technological future.

To continue, the largest school district in the United States which is New York City, plans to end the student cellphone ban, changing the school system in which cellphones are seen as distractions. Cellphones are a tool that can be used for podcasting, polling, messaging, communication, assigning homework, camaras are also a great tool for data collection as well as a concept called “Mobile Citizen Journalism.”An issue constantly argued by students, teachers and parents involves the fact that in many schools it is the only resource that is available, there are no computers for everyone, and safety concerning communication is also crucial for many.

After conducting an interview with James Bandura which is the vice principal of Middle School at The Columbus School were cellphones are banned, he insists that cellphones should not be included in the learning environment. “Brain studies about addiction that cellphones cause, negatively affects adolescents brains which are still in development up into 25 years of age. ”(MS vice principal, Bandura). Many still have their mind sets this way in which technology is seen as a distractor in which there can be lots of disciplinary and educational problems that can be avoided without the use of technology, specially cell phones.

Cellphones are a tool that have shown to be used responsibly in many schools and colleges, many directives should rethink and evaluate the use of cellphones and digital devices since they can be a dominant learning tool.


Works Cited

Li, J., Snow, C., & White, C. (2015). Urban Adolescent Students and Technology: Access, Use and Interest in Learning Language and Literacy. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 143–162. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1088762&site=ehost-live


Rosenberg, H., & Asterhan, C. S. C. (2018). “Whatsapp, Teacher?” – Student Perspectives on Teacher-Student Whatsapp Interactions in Secondary Schools. Journal of Information Technology Education, 17, 205–226. https://doi.org/10.28945/4081


Atkeson, S. (2014). N.Y.C. Schools to Repeal Student Cellphone Ban. Education Week, 34(10), 8. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aqh&AN=99171391&site=ehost-live


Duncan, D. K., Hoekstra, A. R., & Wilcox, B. R. (2012). Digital Devices, Distraction, and Student Performance: Does In-Class Cell Phone Use Reduce Learning? Astronomy Education Review, 11(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.3847/AER2012011