Cell Phones in Class: Effective Tool or Learning Curve?


Dylan Shea & Cam Mallette, Journalists

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through your phone in the middle of class? What feels like 30 seconds was actually 5 minutes, and you look back up to see all the essential information you missed. Phone usage during class is a more common sight to see. With almost every student having access to a cellular device, there is bound to be an excessive amount of phone usage. The question is, are phones a distraction to the classroom, or are they a useful tool?

Using phones in class has become a worldwide phenomenon. About 78% of teenagers aged 12-17 in America have a cell phone. With phones being such an easy way to access information or  connect with your friends, it makes sense that many would want to use their cell phone in class. A study by Campus Technology states that 94% of students would like to use their phones during class time for academic purposes. “I will occasionally use my phone in class to check my notifications and pull up assignments probably 2-3 times per class,” said Alex Rishi, A student here at Ipswich High School.

While there are many reasons to argue against phone usage, there are also many advantages. Students can use their phones to assist them. For example, a student could use their phone for research. Since it’s such easy access, a phone is a great way to get information on a topic. Also, teachers can implement phones into their lessons. For example, programs such as Kahoot and Quizlet Live are a great class time study tool and are easier when using a cell phone. The debate over the effectiveness on phones in class has valid points on both sides.

There are a handful of reasons why phones provide an advantage for students in school. However, these devices hold more disadvantages than most would think. According to a study conducted by students at the University of Texas and Louisiana State University, schools that have enforced a ban on students bringing phones into classrooms, have shown that their grades improved dramatically. According to an article from Care2, “Students were subsequently more attentive in class, their test scores increased by an average of 6 percent.” Although 6 percent doesn’t seem like a large number, it is a large step in shaping the way our educational system teaches students without the distraction of phones.

An inside view from Ian Profenno, a student at Ipswich High School, had to say this about the distraction of phones in a classroom. Specifically, “I have never had much of an issue with my phone in class. I’ve always been quite attentive when it came to classwork and focusing while taking notes. Although, most kids that I see in class have a harder time focusing on classwork.” It seems that phones are even distracting to other students who are trying to benefit from their class time.

Phones in class have many pros and cons. There is no clear answer to the argument. However, when phones are used responsibly, they can create many enjoyable and innovative elements to add to class that couldn’t be achieved without them.