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Cell Phones in the Classroom?

Katie Novak
Katie Novak
October 3, 2022

Dear Cell Phones, 

You are the bane of my existence. You are my lifeline. You steal my children's time. You connect me with others in a flash. I love you. I hate you. 

Teachers, administrators - you know this story. I would be a rich woman if I got a dollar for every time I told my kiddos to stop looking at their screens and go play outside and as soon as they do, I sneak mine out from my back pocket. Cell phones are a distraction. They are a time suck. They are addictive. Yet...they are powerful tools - they are a calculator, a camera, a translator, a QR code reader, an online library, a dictionary, and an encyclopedia.

The question of whether to allow phones in the classroom is one I face both professionally and personally (with my pre-teens). Simply said, it is not a cut and dry answer.  When addressing cell phone use in the classroom, it's incredibly valuable that your students know how to use them as a tool. Cell phones can help to develop strengths that will carry them through to their professions and/or future passions. But it is also pertinent to share your concerns about the distractions and that they know to use them with balance and to not use them to completely disconnect from learning.

While I don't have a definitive answer to the cell phone in classroom debate, I do know that listening to our learners' voices is critical to their success. So why not lean in and have an honest conversation with your learners?  Lay out a list of expectations and come to an agreement with them together. Then pilot it and see how it goes, reflect and adjust. Your students will likely surprise you! 


P.S. I would love to hear your experiences with cell phones in the classroom - join the conversation HERE.


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