Cell Phones in Class? Yes or No?

Today’s students are used to 24/7 technology access. Do you allow students to use phones in the classroom?

Pete Burkholder, PhD, conducted an experiment by rewarding students for “good cell phone behavior” instead of punishing them for the opposite. He placed a sign-up sheet at the front of the classroom where students could voluntarily write their names and surrender their phones during class. Students who complied received a few points of extra credit. Nearly every student wanted to do this and most felt their learning was improved without cell phone access during class.

If you would like to allow cell phones in class, how might you harness their power for student learning? Cassandra O’Sullivan, EdD, shared information on two free apps for classroom use:

Kahoot! is a gaming app that engages students in the classroom through competitive learning activities as individuals or groups. Kahoot can be used to assess prior knowledge, allowing the instructor to quickly tell what content needs further review.

Sli.do is an interactive app for quick feedback from students, much like Turning Point. Questions are displayed on a screen for all to see and students can vote on which questions to review. Slido can also be used to poll students for knowledge assessment.

There are sound pedagogical reasons to allow and deny cell phone use during class.