Column: Cell phones: Distractions or learning tools in the classroom?


Sidney Soukup

A student scrolls through Instagram during class. Cell phones are becoming distractions throughout schools.

Sidney Soukup

Many schools across the country are implementing computers and other mobile gadgets, like phones, into the classroom. Those electronic devices, intended to help students in the classroom, have turned into a distraction and are causing students to have troubles focusing during class, leading to poor grades. Students decide to not pay attention in order to send a Snapchat or a text to their friend in another class.

A study done by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the University of Michigan showed that schools that allowed phones in school, but outside of the classroom, 65% of students sent texts during class.

In schools that completely banned cell phones, 58% of students still texted during class. These studies show that students are sending texts instead of paying attention to the lesson.

Some teachers are lenient with cellphone use for the purpose of allowing students to listen to music as they do their work. Students claim it makes them concentrate better. A recent study showed that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40% and can cause a decrease in IQ.

At our school, cellphones are allowed in some classrooms, depending on the teacher’s discretion. Some teachers only allow students to be on their phones after all their work is done.

The problem with that rule is that some students purposely rush through their work and don’t do as good of a job on it in order to go on their phones. I myself can even admit to doing this.

Many believe that allowing students to use cellphones in class is ultimately leading to lower grades. I think our school should implement more restrictions on cellphone use like making sure phones are kept in lockers during classes. Students would only be allowed on their phones during the passing period, lunch, and access. Doing so will allow students to focus in class without the distraction of phones.

I believe that having more restrictions on cell phone usage in classrooms can help students pay attention more in class and allow them to improve their grades.