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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Cell Phones in the Classroom? Your Thoughts?

With the return of school, the issue of cell phones in the classroom is again being discussed. Most kids own cell phones. It is estimated that most children get their first phone at the age of 10! As a teacher, what is either your policy or your school’s policy toward allowing students to bring cell phones into the classroom? What are the Pros and Cons of allowing cell phones in the classroom.
Here are just a few thoughts:
For some the issue of allowing students to have a cell phone in the classroom is for emergency contacts. Parents say they want to be able to contact their students should the need arise. Additionally, cell phones can be used in case of an emergency should a shelter in place be issued.
Cell phones can very quickly be used to check for information from their fingertips. No need to go to a computer room to do their research. Cell phones can be utilized as a teaching tool during a lesson.
Cell phones are distracting in the classroom. Will students look attentive but sneak texting one of their friends during your lessons? Might a student use their phone to record the class lesson or check out websites to review while the lesson is going on? Might a student use their cell phone to cheat on a test?
With most cell phones being rather expensive, are they an easy target for theft?
Does the ownership of a cell phone cause a class structure within the classroom? Some students can not afford to have one in their possession. Could this lead to some type of bullying?
It is estimated that young people can spend up to 10 hours each day on computer devices. There are some studies that say that such exposure to the light from the devices can make for disruption in sleep patterns.
Some schools say that phones must be stored in a student’s locker and not brought into the classroom. Violators have their phones taken and returned after the class is over. This could also result in a confrontation between the student and the teacher taking from valuable teaching time.
I would lean to having cell phones left in the lockers and not brought into my classroom. Should a parent need to contact their child (seems like this is the reason most heard for cell phones being allowed in the classroom), the office can quickly make contact with the student in the classroom.
What is your opinion?