ASCD 2012 | Conference Coverage

Revisiting Cell Phone Bans in Schools

Twenty-four percent of K-12 schools ban cell phones altogether, and 62 percent allow phones on school grounds but ban them in the classroom, according to the most recent national data available. But it's about time for those schools to rethink those bans, said Kevin M. Thomas, assistant professor of education at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, who spoke at the 67th ASCD Annual Conference & Exhibit in Philadelphia this weekend.

"We are at a crossroads," Thomas said to an overflow crowd at his Sunday afternoon session, "Using Cellphones in the Kindergarten Through Grade 12 Classroom." "We have to decide if we are going to continue to ban cell phones, and we have to weigh the balance between pros and cons."

On the pro side, Thomas said, mobile phones can be used as a cheaper alternative to "clicker" devices, he said. He described one example of a teacher using Poll Everywhere in a social studies classroom. As students enter the classroom, the teacher has posted a question on the whiteboard asking students what they believe to be the most important cause of the Civil War. The students text their answer as soon as they enter the class and are able to watch the changing results displayed in a bar graph on the whiteboard.

Educational content developers are targeting mobile devices as well. PBS and the International Society for Technology in Education, he noted, have a number of content-related cell phone apps, and companies such as the Princeton Review and Kaplan offer texting-based test-preparation questions for the Scholastic Achievement Test.

Thomas said not enough research has been done on teachers' perceptions of using mobile phones in the classroom but added that research has demonstrated that using texting to provide students and parents with regular information about classwork leads to higher assignment completion rates.

QR codes are also making mobile phones more attractive as educational tools.

In a separate session, a team from Catholic High School in New Iberia, LA, described how students combined historical research and a writing project with a QR code project involving the class of 2012. Their students designed a walking tour of their hometown, converted information into QR codes, and displayed the codes at points of interest so that any smartphone user could scan them for information about local history and building sites. Students left the classroom to research building records and newspaper articles and to interview local citizens.

"To create the Web pages for each site of interest, we used the WordPress blogging tool," said Erin Henry, technology director at CHS . 'We wanted the design to be simple, clean, and plain when users open it on a phone."

The next CHS project is to have students design a school tour with QR codes. The sticking point, however, is that normally students aren't allowed to use cell phones in school, so exceptions have had to be put in place for testing the QR-coded material.

The cell phone bans are in place, Bellarmine's Thomas said, because of legitimate concerns about cheating, texting, sexting, and cyberbullying. Thomas argued that the mobile phones themselves are not causing these problems. They are moral and ethical in nature, not technical. "These are new forms of old behaviors. Banning will not be the solution," he said. "We have to educate students about proper way to use the tools."

About the Author

David Raths is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer focused on information technology. He writes regularly for several IT publications, including Healthcare Informatics and Government Technology.

Comments

Thu, Oct 16, 2014 RHS Student

Most people raise good pointers on the banning of cellular devices, but are usually countered by others of the same topic but pro-cell phones. The fact that the ONLY reasons noted for banning are mainly sexting and cheating are not sufficient. We live in a society of young aged people who use their phones for good, and yes, bad. Embrace it or not, most of us need our phones. I myself need it to be able to keep friends up-to-date on assignments that they missed, thus making the ban irrelevant. Noting the fact that we are young adults and like to socialize, shouldn't be criticized. That is just my spew though.

Thu, Oct 9, 2014

We should be ABLE TO USE CELL PHONES. This is coming from a student.

Sun, Aug 10, 2014 BIKASH JUNAGARH

I THINK THAT MOBILES SHOULD BANNED IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION

Thu, May 15, 2014

I say they should be banned be cause kids can cheat

Wed, Mar 5, 2014

Good day, I think Cellphones should not be ban for the students in school because we all know that this thing is very important specially when emergency. all we have to do is just tell them the proper use of cellphones inside the school. Ann valenzuela Contributor, www.ourhappyschool.com

Wed, Mar 5, 2014

Good day, I think Cellphones should not be ban for the students in school because we all know that this thing is very important specially when emergency. all we have to do is just tell them the proper use of cellphones inside the school. Ann valenzuela Contributor, www.ourhappyschool.com

Fri, Feb 21, 2014

i think that phones should not be allowed in school. it creates a huge distraction for several kids, and i opens the door for more cyber bullying.

Thu, Feb 13, 2014

i think cell phones should be allowed in schools for multiple reasons 1. is the students might need to stay in touch with there family. 2. they need to use for classes

Sun, Jan 12, 2014 kid montana

We should be allowed to use cell phones

Fri, Jan 10, 2014

pop, lock, and drop it

Mon, Dec 2, 2013 I.D.K

cool info

Mon, Dec 2, 2013

cool website and info

Mon, Dec 2, 2013

cool website and info

Mon, Nov 11, 2013 Ben Dover

I can't wait to see how they will find a way to make the situation even worse.

Mon, Nov 11, 2013 Ben Dover

cheaters, sexters, and texters unite!

Thu, Oct 17, 2013 ashley swagfag (:

turn up turn up turn up never turn down like a bossss and a red nose twerk team

Thu, Oct 17, 2013 ashley perez swagfag(:

i think that we should be able to bring our cell phones to school like did you buy our phones no so stay out of my kohlade turn up like a red nose

Sun, Oct 13, 2013 Lynn

Someone mentioned the cell phone usage in the business world as the argument for usage in school. I and most of my company do use them strictly for phone calls and texting and rarely for document transport. Along with out side vendors I experience people answering them when I am in a meeting with them, when they are in group sessions that they are an integral part of, and it does not seem to matter if it is a personal call or business. It is not necessary nor polite to behave in this manner because you have a piece of technology tied to your hip. This action is even further exacerbated with students who receive calls and texts all day long but use them very little for instruction. Not only is this an issue but you have hundreds of phones continually searching for APs all day flooding wireless resources in schools needlessly.

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 BOSTON MONTANA

i think students should have phones in school so that they can learn and be up to date in this ever changing world and that is coming from a 8th grader

Tue, May 28, 2013 Editor Your moms bed

i think they will watch poon

Tue, May 28, 2013 Editor Your moms bed

i think they will watch poon

Fri, Mar 15, 2013

Phones should be aloud it could save people from dying like in sandy hook

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 sophia washington

cell phones shouldnt be allowed and cause many bad things. schools should realize that and ban them. my school hasnt banned them but they should.

Fri, Mar 1, 2013

Most of you say, its a distraction, or no, or even NO CELLPHONES! Yet you fail to realize kids will do it anyway, if you make it a rule that cellphones are not allowed in school kids will do it because they think its "cool" I am in 6th grade and I know that cell phones should be allowed in school because 1. It makes no difference, they'll do it anyway. 2. It can be used as a resource in class

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 raishonna oklaoma city ok

my school does all through the school time 24/7

Tue, Feb 12, 2013

as am i a pie lover

Tue, Feb 12, 2013

i am also a pie lover

Tue, Feb 5, 2013 aaron

Cell phones are allowed in my school

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 me

cell phones ROCK!

Sat, Jan 19, 2013 Travis T Best Coast (not the West Coast)

Judging by the appalling lack of syntax and many spelling errors, we've clearly become a lazy society that goes for cheap, instant gratifaction and zero hard work. Illiteracy is a byproduct of the electronic age. Fundamentals cannot be given the foundation they need vis a vis the cell phone or tablet distraction. For example - I have a Coast Guard Captain's license. I learned first to navigate with charts, sextants and compasses before ever using radar, sonar and GPS. While the early foundation was based on some sort of tool, I still had to use my own critical thinking to set a course, not merely look at a screen. As for the old emerceny usage argument, no sale. Most kids will either record the occurence for a youtube posting or tweet what's happening to their followers. Electronic devices for strict learning purposes might save some money on books, but the access for other sites and social networking should be blocked.

Sat, Jan 12, 2013 NYCmomatty NYC

Cell Phones, from K-12 , should continue to be BANNED. It is a distraction, not a learning tool for the classroom. There shouldnt be a need for gimmicks to teach and learn. That Professor should try teaching in a middle school class when the kids are allowed to have their phones on, he will experience the headache that comes with it.

Tue, Jan 8, 2013

i think they should

Thu, Dec 13, 2012

If we are preparing our students for life after school, we should allow them to use the tools they will be using when they get there. How many jobs can you think of right now where a smart phone is not beneficial? Mechanics order parts on their phone, engineers view blueprints, doctors calculate dosages, and grocers check inventory. The list is endless. By the time our students enter their professions the need to utilize mobile technology will be even stronger. Not preparing our students for that world is negligent. In a time when schools are facing tightening budgets, using technology that is readily available is logical. How many schools point to a lack of funds as a reason they are not doing more with technology? We can go a long way towards solving that problem by using technology that is available for free and probably in a majority of HS students' pockets. Mobile devices are great for teaching 21st century skills. If you want kids to learn to collaborate, what better tool can you use than a phone? Videoconferencing with people all over the world becomes easy. One of the main arguments against student phone use is that kids might cheat. My response is that tests that are so lacking in rigor that students can look up answers on a phone or get them from another student are lousy and outdated in a world where information is free and easy. We need to get used to the fact that kids don't need to know "stuff" nearly as much as they need to learn to use that "stuff." Tests of recall don't prepare our students for the world ahead. Kids know this - it's why they think school is irrelevant. Kids working together to find solutions to problems (collaboration) should be encouraged, not labeled as "cheating." Policies that ban cell phones because students might text each other are short-sighted. As Kevin Honeycutt is fond of saying, "Students used to pass notes on paper. We never banned paper." Double standards are not OK. I know of several districts where administrators come into classrooms with iPhones and/or iPads to take notes on teacher observations. Yet, in these same classrooms students are not allowed to use mobile devices. The message this sends to students is totally unacceptable. These are great tools. Kids know it. Let them use them. We need to teach kids responsible ways to use technology. Keeping them "safe" by refusing to expose them to technology is irresponsible on our part. Students are using cell phones whether we ban them in school or not. They are communicating, sending pictures to each other, using social media and social networking, and consuming information. We need to be teaching them how to do this while protecting themselves from both mistakes they might make that will follow them for decades and others who want to do them harm. The dangers and pitfalls of using mobile devices aren't going away. Isn't it our responsibility to teach our students to be safe?

Sun, Dec 2, 2012

I never thought that cell phones would be taken seriously during school hours, well now I no.

Wed, Nov 28, 2012

you have a point

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 David E. MI

They should be allowed in case of a mugging or even a sexual assalt

Wed, Nov 28, 2012

I think they should be allowed in case of an emergancy or kidnapping

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 USA utah

im a bit confused at whats going on but i think kids should be aloud to have phones in the school becuase i always need my phone for emegencise and not to be allowed in the classroom.

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 summer morgan santa fe new mexico

students should be aloud to have cell phones at my school if you get caught with a cell phone it is taken and you are written up plus if you want it back you have to pay 20$ or wait 20 days then your parent has to pick it up and the money and amount of days heighten with every offence. schools should allow cell phones for educational purposes and if a student is caught texting or cheating or doing anything uneducational the phone should be taken and given back at the end of the day. Also teachers at my school,when getting the cell phone from the student, look through it to see if the student was texting another student, to me that is not right, an invasion of privacy, and should be not allowed. P.S. I like pie, too!!!! :)

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 Lawrence L Wasilla,AK

Im a freshman at BHS and I have noticed the increasing amount of cellphones. It appears to me that cellphones represent your ranking in school. If I have an old nokia im considered poor, but if I have a IPhone 5 I'm ahead of everyone and my family is wealthy.

Mon, Nov 5, 2012 Editor

[That awkward moment when you realize there are editors who actually read all the comments on this site.]

Mon, Nov 5, 2012

No, like I really do like pie...

Mon, Nov 5, 2012

I like pie.

Thu, Oct 25, 2012

If you ban cell phones kids will still take their cell phones with them. They will also just find another way to distract them selfs if you just take their phone away. Cell phones should not be banned entirely, because that i, in effect, not allowing students to have cell phones while traveling to and from school. Also teachers and everyone whine about how cell phones are a distraction and waist precious time when they would be waisting precious time taggingand bagging cell phones so just tell the students keep it either turned on vibrate and or off and in your locker. Ifthey are texting give them one warning then if they are seen texting again tell them to turn it off and put it on your desk till the end of class. Simple. For those who want them banned keep an open mind or think about how the parents wory and care and would like to knowwhere their kids are.

Fri, Oct 5, 2012 Editor

De'Shaun raises an interesting point.

Fri, Oct 5, 2012 De'Shaun

i love BEYONC'E

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 kayla b.

i believe that student should be able to have cell phones banning them is just plain rude also people could use cell phones for turning in homework because if they ban cell phones then they should just ban any other eletrical devices like computers, ipads, etc. and that is what i think

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 Adam Pittsburgh,Pa

I am a high school student and I understand that some of the problems are distractions. I understand that people think kids are going to be glued to these things all the time, but that's not the case. My cellphone (even though it is banned in my school) is in my pocket all day long until I have down time to check it. Believe it or not, I have important emails and texts that will need to be responded to at some point or else my inbox will be overwhelmed. If its possible and I have free time between classes or when my work is done I will take a quick look over my notifications and if needed respond to them. Schools must realize that teenagers are becomming more attatched to a more adult-esque world. We have responsibilities, activities. People rely on teenagers because that has become how the family unit works. To those who say that phones contribute to violence. Let me share this bit of information with you. I live in an area that is extremely low income. Just this summer where was at least one shooting a week for one month straight. In school, those who will be jumping others don't need cell phones. They travel in packs. (That sounds bad I apologize). People don't walk to halls alone. If a fight breaks out, your friends are right around the corner to get you out. To conclude I will say this. If you are not successful in life outside of school, chances are the learning you do will go to waste because that information needs to be supplimented with real world skills.

Sun, Aug 5, 2012

I think that cell phones are a distracting but the teachers can collect them at the beginning of the class and give them back at the end of class. And whenever they need the cell phones for the classroom.. Then the teachers should give it to them.. But besides the distractions and stuff.. Cell phones should be allowed for schools.

Sun, Aug 5, 2012

I think that cell phones are a distracting but the teachers can collect them at the beginning of the class and give them back at the end of class. And whenever they need the cell phones for the classroom.. Then the teachers should give it to them.. But besides the distractions and stuff.. Cell phones should be allowed for schools.

Wed, Jun 20, 2012

What about the students without cell phones? Wouldn't the student(s) have a hard time participating in the classroom if a lot of the education was based of the use of cell phones? If students haven't been using cell phones in the educational environment up to this point, I'm sure they will still get the needed education and succeed without the use of cell phones.

Wed, Jun 20, 2012

What about the students without cell phones? Wouldn't the student(s) have a hard time participating in the classroom if a lot of the education was based of the use of cell phones? If students haven't been using cell phones in the educational environment up to this point, I'm sure they will still get the needed education and succeed without the use of cell phones.

Thu, May 24, 2012 Student

I disagree because students would be distracted by the phone. And they may cheat on an exam with their phones.

Mon, May 7, 2012 Linda

Interesting, the Deputy Superintendent of Ohio just addressed the use of cell phones in schools. We need to teach our students responsibility with cell phones. I have conflict. I believe using cell phones is a good teaching tool, but what about those students that just can't afford a cell phone. Believe it or not, not all children have cell phones.

Mon, Apr 9, 2012 Los Angeles

As an administrator at the middle school level, there are continual issues that must be addressed regarding cell phones. Texting sexting, cheating, and taking photos during class time to name a few. Also with so many families of students have a top of the line phone with app abilitity is not feasible especially in these economic times. PLEASE lets not do something more that increases the pressure on all stakeholders

Mon, Apr 9, 2012

They thought the Television would revolutionize education when it was first introduced in the classroom. Now you are considered lazy for using it in your curriculum. As exciting as Math is...the other apps on the phone are going to be a distraction. Not all phones are created equal...how do you require a phone of every student?

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 Nicolas R

I agree that cell phones should be allowed in schools because they can be powerful teaching tools. More teachers should utilize the cell phone and it's capabilities in the learning environment. I bet students will not say "I left my phone at home " because they do not move without them. I say involve the students in their own quest for knowledge by utilizing their cell phones.

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 Nicolas R

I agree that cell phones should be allowed in schools because they can be powerful teaching tools. More teachers should utilize the cell phone and it's capabilities in the learning environment. I bet students will not say "I left my phone at home " because they do not move without them. I say involve the students in their own quest for knowledge by utilizing their cell phones.

Tue, Apr 3, 2012 R. Elliott Minnesota

We have a ban on cell phones in our school. Students must turn them in to teacher a beginning of school day and get them back at the end of the day. We are a K-6 school and the majority of the students cannot handle having the phone without using other features and loose focus of the class work. Other students in vicinity of the phone carrier will also be drawn in.

Tue, Apr 3, 2012 Boston

Los Angeles, Evidently you do not understand why the issue being discussed( cell phones in the classroom) can be a detriment to students' learning.Students may use their phones before & after school, between classes,often in the restroom, and if an emergency, most teachers would let the student make a call. Your logic seems to stem from a disappointing relationship with an educational system somewhere. Why would teachers not have the right to enforce a cell phone rule, as our bosses, the Principal and Assistant Principals expect us to enforce the " no cell phones in the classroom rule". Teachers can be reprimanded for allowing this. So AhA~! if you have an issue with those "heavy-handed hawk teachers", address administrators. I am happy to know your classroom experience has been extensive and successful.

Mon, Apr 2, 2012 Los Angeles

The students may have reasons why they need to use their cell phones. However, because they have heavy-handed teachers closely watching and hovering over them like hawks, they often sneek around to use them. My problems are not with the students, but with the teachers. Who is watching them breaking the same rules they are enforcing? AHA!

Mon, Apr 2, 2012 Lyn Florida

I'm sorry, but even my seniors lack the maturity to use the cell phone as the tool it could be. It is merely a distraction because they are tempted to use it for everything except what I've asked them to use it for. (Same thing goes for teachers in a faculty meeting) It's not multi-tasking, it's doing several things poorly, with distracted attention span.

Mon, Apr 2, 2012 Carter Phillips Ct.

It is evident that several of the authors' have entirely different perspectives concerning cell phones in the classroom. All of us are unique and teach or oversee a varety of students; whether from the U.S. or anywhere in the world. Technology is extremely important in our universe. However, unless many of these teachers have ever dealt with cell phones as a distracting communicating device, instead of a "tech tool", I do not believe they fully understand the concept goes way beyond " classroom management". I concur with many of the writers cited that bullying, cheating, picture-taking, games, movies and more can all be utilized from most cell phones.We need to look at this issue from a " panoramic view", not one pro-technology aspect. If we as instructors had our phones out during class, are YOU so sure you would not be tempted just to check something?

Mon, Apr 2, 2012 Canadian Teacher

Why would one choose to not allow students to use handheld devices in the classroom when they are an essential part of life outside of the classroom? How many jobs are there where electronic devices are not essential for communication or the completion of tasks? Not embracing the use of technology in the classroom results in students being less prepared to be productive in a society where technology is omnipresent. The challenge we face is not whether or not to accept technologhy, but in promoting its ethical use.

Mon, Apr 2, 2012 BETTY SVETICH GARY, INDIANA

NO CHILDREN SHOULD NOT HAVE CELLPHONES IN SCHOOL!

Mon, Apr 2, 2012 EB Long Island NY

What of the added complication of student phones and other ekcetronic devices being stolen from them and/or students being bullied or attacked in order to do so? This seems to be on the increase and not just at public schools. These phones are so expensive and desirale that whole networks have evolved for stealing them and passing them around and then selling them on the internet for ready cash. In these instances, openly allowing electronics in school may add to the school's responsibility for those items when they are taken from a student while they are under our care.

Sun, Apr 1, 2012 windows phone www.wahastore.com

I read this blog.this is very informative blog for everyone.after reading this blog i wanna say that it is very action from the school MD.they should take it serious......

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 Paper

A blank piece of paper does not contain all of a students social contacts, concerns, worries etc. No teacher, administrator, or parent will drive a wedge of ethics between them and their phones. Social concerns override all else, if you don't believe this, you need to get in the classroom more often. Cell phones distract. This is a no brainer. A skill for any century (not just the 21st)is to put personal matters to the side while you focus on your job. I guess we now live in a world where the constant bombardment of kids social concerns is desirable in schools and on the job.

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 Michelle Vaudrin Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec

I wonder if teachers ever thought of getting rid of paper in classrooms to stop note passing? Maybe we should go back to using sticks in the dirt to write. The younger students start learning about using all tools correctly, the more natural it'll be. As educators, we just need to teach in a different way. Smart phones are not going away any time soon! It is the teachers' and the parents' job to teach all students how to use any form of communication responsibly!

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 DIstraction

Phones are distracting - it's as simple as that. Get in the classroom and see for yourself. Anything that distracts kids - such as their social lives via phones is contrary to good pedagogy. Cell phones bring their social distractions to easy, instant access. Why is there a belief that all technology is desirable. To paraphrase Jurassic Park - just because we can, does not mean we should.

Fri, Mar 30, 2012

I work in a school where over 70% of the students are on free or reduced lunch. We have the highest unemployement rate in the state. We give away food at the school on Friday so the kids can have something to eat over the weekend. All but two of my students have cell phones.

Fri, Mar 30, 2012

Has any thought been given to resource problem of using cellphones for lessons? I work in a school district were 80% of my students live in poverty. Sure, some of them manage to acquire cellphones. But many of them do not have one. This is not something that can be accommodated for. In that light, it would be inappropriate of a teacher to make having a cellphone a required tool for involvement in a lesson.

Fri, Mar 30, 2012

As has been stated multiple times, we live in the 21st century and therefore must teach 21st century skills and coping mechanisms. The technology is here to stay and therefore appropriate use to include time, place, and intent must be explicitly taught. If we think an 8 hour "time-out" from technology will change how kids use technology then we are gravely mistaken. As with everything else we teach, digital citizenship should also be a priority. Along with teaching appropriate use, we can open up a whole new avenue of instructional strategies for both students and teachers. As a building principal I feel the benefits outweigh the costs and will continue to coach my students, staff, and parents about the benefits and pitfalls around mobile devices.

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 Are you kidding?

Cell phones are one of the worst things you can have in school as it ENABLE maladaptive behaviors. Having Thomas say that this problem is ethical, as opposed to the policy shows a lack in understanding of classroom and other dynamics. It's like the argument that"bullets don't kill people..." Speaking of bullets... For example, yesterday we had a lockdown drill. Guess what, a cell phone went off as we were hiding. Does Mr. Thomas have a protocol for a gunman to NOT find students?

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 Harry

Your data is almost three years old. That's like 21 years in mobile technolgy years. Try to stay more current.

Fri, Mar 30, 2012

Remember the students grew up with this technology. For the older teachers, learn to use it,

Thu, Mar 29, 2012

As a teacher, if I do not have an engaging lesson that is involving the students and regularly checking in with them, then shame on me. Cell phone use is minimal if your students are engaged. How about students taking out their cell phone to take a picture of the home work problems so they can look at them later. Totally cool.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 Lisa Montevallo, AL

When the radio first came into existence it was the most horrible thing; when television was invented it became the idiot box; when rock and roll was first played students were called hooligans among other things. Computers are still new, cell phones are still new. Technology is not going away because we do not like some of the results. For students to become 21st Century learners, WE have to TEACH them. Bans do NOT work, the students find a way around them. They find a way around the internet blocks at school (in elementary classes). We are responsible for teaching students what is required by national, state, and local governments. In my state's requirements for technology, students have to: practice safe use, explain the influence of technology, and collect information from a variety of digital sources. These are just a few that we are REQUIRED to teach our students. We need to find a way to work WITH not AGAINST our students to make it a safe learning environment for them.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 James Petersen Hawaii

I am a a school administrator at a large suburban high school. More than five years ago we realized that our blanket ban on electronic devices was one that we were unable and unprepared to equitably enforce. When you have a law or a rule that's unenforceable, it only serves to make the leadership of the school, town, or nation look stupid. We were teaching our students "don't get caught." We asked if there were lessons we could teach that would be more appropriate such as "there are times and places where device use is appropriate and there are times when it is not. Let's learn and practice the difference. Our rules allow generally state that devices will not be used during instructional times. Teachers have the option to have students utilize their devices in an instructional context. (like the teacher who has students tweet topic sentences or another who sends out AP quiz prompts. Our disciplinary referrals for device use have plummeted to almost nothing. More importantly, we are giving students less compelling evidence that schooling is irrelevant to their lives. The world has changed and is changing. Nobody asked my opinion. The world doesn't care if I approve or disapprove. It just is. Educators need to recognize this or get out of the way.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 VT_Tradition

Student ethics is very nearly an oxymoron in public schools because there are no ethics lessons taught in school that have any real meaning that students learn like they learn and use a curricular skill. Real, useful meaning for students is actually what exists and works for them outside of school. Parents SHOULD be the force that models and instills ethicality but the trump card to parental influence is peer pressure, which defies any recognition of consistent ethicality. Therefore, without any hope of students gaining ethical practicality from school, and as Thomas states, the issues weighed against using cell phones in schools like cheating, texting, sexting, and cyberbullying, will not be remedied or solved by anything the schools can do by allowing cell phones…unless ethicality becomes part of the common core.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012

No they should not. Too much texting, messaging, etc. In my experience they are a significant distraction. I get tired of students complaining I did not teach them somthing when they were distracted with their cell phone during the lecture. They have so little respect for the teacher and the school rules they will not put them away even when you tell them to and we were not allowed to confiscate the phone. So they did not learn what they were in the class to learn.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012

I have been teaching for the past 13 years in Puerto Rico. Technology is here to stay and go beyond its limits. but students need to learn the old fashion way to appreciate what they can do with their own effort.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 Harelye morgansville

Love it

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 Lori Ohio

The educator is ultimately responsible for the child during school hours. Install phone bans! It is impossible to control the use of cell phones when the kids sneak their phones in their bags, bras and pockets while they can text, tweet and email with their eyes closed. They are not learing! It is a distraction beyond belief. The sad part is that we are giving our younger children the opportunity to sext at an unbelievable rate. It is too late once they have sent a picture revealing themselves to the world to "teach them a lesson". At this age they are not mature enough to "own" the capabilities or the consequences that come with a smart phone. I have never seen a teacher use the phone as a tool in the classroom. The kids use them to chat, cheat, bully, and gossip about other kids. We want to know what is happening to our kids?! They don't even know how to socialize properly! The cell phone is the "chip in the hand". Watch out!!

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 Dwayne Texas

The article is based on data from 2009. It is now Spring of 2012. In 2009 our students used text messaging. In 2012 our students have smart phones and data plans.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012

I wonder if using cell phones for these good purposes could be a problem further widening the digital divide. Certainly not all students have a cell phone in many districts. Back in the 1980s when I taught junior high, not all of my students even had a phone at home. Even today, as a college professor, I have only a simple "feature phone" as my cell, and no data or text plan even though I suppose I could afford it.

Wed, Mar 28, 2012

I am a high school principal that has allowed cell phones to be used before, after school and during passing time as well as lunch. The 21st century is about using communication. The cell phone has not been a problem on my campus of 2500 students. If students want to use it inappropriately they are going to do inapppropriate things anyway. Just like all other rules we teach them what is acceptable and what is not. The students actually embrace the idea if you work with them. If we do take them away or enforce discipline, parents totally support us because we have a reasonable use policy.

Wed, Mar 28, 2012 Laurence Mechanic New York

I personally find it impossible to stay focused when my iPhone is near me. I can't see how it is possible for students to pay attention in class when cell phones are near them. I can't tell you how often I tell my students to put their phones away, but since everyone follows a different version of the rule, it is impossible to enforce.

Wed, Mar 28, 2012 Tennessee

Many classrooms have technology set up to support learning. We want students and teachers to learn to share an environment with others that is structured like everything else in the world. People who cannot behave under a ban cannot behave under freedom. Besides, the school is responsible for what happens on campus, not the students, not the teachers, and not the parents.

Wed, Mar 28, 2012 kthomas Bellarmine University

I can assure you my head is not in the sand. I was a high school English teacher for 15 years prior to going into higher education and used cell phones with my students. Please visit my wiki from the conference (https://ascd.wikispaces.com)and read the articles on the use of cell phones. There are numerous citations on the topic. You might also look at: The Digital Divide by Hannah Hudson from Instructor Tech, Teachers & Teens: Bridging the divide by Stuht and Colcord from Leadership Best, Kevin

Wed, Mar 28, 2012

The problem with cell phones in schools, is grade specific. In grades 9-12, cell phones have proven to be a dangerous device as students text other students descriptions of someone who is to be jumped for one reason or another. They also add to the mobilization and coordination of gang activities outside of the school. It is a shame that we have to be concerned about so many negatives when the use of technology has so many positives which outweigh the negatives. It will hvae to be a school by school and district by district decision.

Wed, Mar 28, 2012

If we can teach students how to use scissors correctly, we can teach them how to use their cell phones for educational purposes.

Wed, Mar 28, 2012

Professor Thomas needs to take his head out of the sand. Cell phones have been boon for the illicit drug trade and increased gang activity.

Wed, Mar 28, 2012

You are making a lot of educational excuses for bad behavior. They can text with the phone in their pockets, under the desk, in a book bag (if they can get their hand in the bag). Just say no to phones and let the students learn with the many things already in place.

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