Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Posts On Student Cellphone Use In Class — Please Contribute More


I’m not a big fan of student cellphone use in class (though, a year after originally writing this post, my thinking is evolving and I’m cautiously incorporating their use), and my posts about them have reflected that perspective.

However, I like to think I have a relatively open mind about many things. So, though I’m starting off this list with my negative posts about them, I hope readers will contribute other posts that may or may not agree with mine. If you’re going to suggest ones on the “pro”-side, though, I request that they be ones that portray a realistic view. In other words, I’ve seen some pretty idyllic posts about how students have used them with exceptional results, but have not included any indications of challenges they’ve experienced, as well.

Here is a beginning list of The Best Posts On Student Cellphone Use In Class:

Study: ” 94 percent of high school students accessed social media on their phones during class”

Why I Support The Cellphone Ban At Our School

iPods In Schools

Cellphones In Class

Research Studies Of The Week

More Info On Student Cellphone Use In Class Research

Here’s a thoughtful post from Larry Cuban’s blog.

Managing Student Cellphone Use In Class

6 Reasons to Put Your Phone Away is a great infographic.

Statistic Of The Day: Student Cellphone Use

Do Smartphones Have a Place in the Classroom? is from The Atlantic and is by Paul Barnwell.

Fomo, stress and sleeplessness: are smartphones bad for students? is from The Guardian.

Here Are Two Activities I’ll Be Doing With My ELL Students Day We Come Back From Break

New Study On Cellphones Helpful To Teachers Everywhere

France grapples with whether to ban cellphones in schools is from NBC News. The article covers a lot of ground.

Laptops And Phones In The Classroom: Yea, Nay Or A Third Way? is from NPR.

Best Article Ever To Have Students Read About Cellphones!

Feedback is always welcome.

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You might also want to explore the 1000 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. I teach 7 and 8 th grade science at a rural school in Florida. I teach all 130 of the 7th and 8th graders and am always trying to engage and interest them using anything I can come up with, technology included.

    I have always wanted to try something with QR codes and just before Christmas break I made a simple QR code that contained the bell-ringer. Before I showed it to them I said that the entire class would get a 100 if anyone in the class could answer the bell-ringer correctly, but if there was no correct answer, then a zero. I also said that I would give a small prize for the first person that could figure out the question they need to answer. By now the class was very confused, but intrigued.

    I then showed the QR code, although most students did not know what to do, a few questioned out loud whether it needed to be scanned. I said, well that was probably the only way they could come up with the question. Now they were further perplexed since they are not allowed to used their smart phones, but someone would finally ask permission to do so. I said go for it, after the first person had enough courage to take out their phone and everyone realized that I was indeed allowing it, then their was a mad rush to download the app and to scan the code. After determining the question .”What is the tallest volcano in the world?”, they then wondered if they could use the class computers to get the answer, and I said, well, you just used your smartphones…

    This “experiment” worked better than I expected, but it wound up totally exceeding it. After I did this in my 4th period class, someone asked if they might be allowed to take notes on their phone. I initially was skeptical and said that I am sure it would be slower than writing notes, but immediately I heard from half the class assuring me that would not be the case. I said ok we will see what happens today and allowed them to take notes on their smartphones if they wanted as I only had about 10 minutes worth of notes to give at the end of the period. Not only did the keep up, but when I released them after the bell, I had 6 student excitedly show me their notes on their phones as they left. I was amazed, since in my seven years as a teacher, I never once ever seen nor heard about any student who was excited about taking notes, and I had 6 of them in one class!

    By the end of the day the word got out that I allowed smart devices to be used to take notes, I had probably 25% of all my 7th and 8th grade students approach me to ask if they could bring in and use their smart devices. I was overwhelmed bymthis response, but was not expecting nor prepared to open this “can of worms”

    Although I did not ask my Principal to do my QR code “experiment”, I did talk to her afterwards about the outcome. Since she is supportive of technology and believes that this is sort of the direction that schools may be heading towards, yet she wanted to think about it first and said she would get back to me when we return after the holidays.

    If it is approved, i wonder if this is actually a breakthrough or will it be just a fad? I do not know, but to see six excited students showing me how they took notes on their phone was “priceless”.

  2. Hi Larry – I used student cell phones in an undergraduate course. Most students were 18-22 years old. A few were HS seniors. I did end-of-course surveys for the two semesters I taught the course. Here are the results of the survey Mobile Learning: End of Course Student Survey Part II – I believe in the power of student voice and they, for the most part, viewed it as very positive.

  3. Pingback: Just started a blog for IT students « Information-Systems

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