Freshman Perspective on Cell Phones in Class


Paige Rapisarda

Freshman Perspective on Cell Phones in Class

Cell phones have become a large part of the persona of the modern teenager. Teens  can’t seem to get enough of their mobile devices! 78% of all teens have a cell phone, half of those being smartphones, according to a study done by Pew Internet. There is always an urge to stay connected at all times, whether it’s checking out the latest Instagram posts, tweeting,  trying your hand at the latest game craze, or just texting your friends. One of the many privileges of being a Rock Bridge student is the idea of freedom with responsibility. Freshmen are starting to get their first tastes of  freedom in school and in some cases, abusing it. There is no set school-wide rule against having cell phones or other electronic devices out in class depending on the teacher.

Based on more than 2,000 interviews conducted by Common Sense Media and Benenson Strategy Group,  94 percent of high school students use their cellular devices in class; 73 percent of teachers use cell phones as a part of academic activities during class.

“I like them as a tool. Like today a student video taped my lesson, great idea for a cell phone use,” Physics teacher Kory Kaufman said. “A student looking up some information, great idea.“

Cell phones, however quite distracting, are not always the educational enemy. Students can use cell phones  to further the learning experience by serving as a quick way to get information. Freshman at RBHS may be getting their first taste of freedom with responsibility at school, and there are many conflicting opinions.

“I think that cell phones in class are a good thing. If teachers tell their students to put their phones away in class,” freshman Tyra Byas said,  “then that creates more of an urge to get them back out.”

From the students’ point of view, teachers trying to take away phones just lead to rebellion and more trouble than they had started off with.

“Having our phones enables us to research for projects more easily and if we weren’t allowed to have our phones, we would do it anyway,” said freshman Ben Lopez. “And, it would be way too much trouble to not allow phone use.”

Although students may feel that having their phones out in class a necessity, teachers have faced an everyday battle with cellular devices for their students’ attention.  On average, based on the Common Sense Media and Benenson Strategy Group interviews, every week  teenagers send 440 text messages, 110 of those messages being sent during class.

“The problem I have [with cell phones in a classroom] is students are using them in class for purposeses that aren’t useful in class, “ Kaufman said, “and I think that it’s a distraction for lots of students.”

A 2013 issue  of The Teaching Professor included a Titsworth and Kuznekoff study that showed that students who use their cell phones during class take less notes, retain less information and perform considerably worse on multiple-choice tests than students who focus on class and not a glowing screen in front of them.

“I think that cellphones are very distracting for me in class,” freshman Divya Divya, said. “Although they’re helpful when looking things up, I often get sidetracked when I have my phone.”

Cell phones and other electronics are also the leading resources for cheating.

Taking a break from your phone isn’t always a bad thing. Freshman Wesley Cosby has noticed that taking an electronic hiatus during school has helped the way he learns.

“I haven’t been bringing my cellphone to school lately,” Cosby said, “and I’ve noticed an improvement in how much I pay attention in class. I don’t get distracted with whatever is happening on my phone and I can focus more on the teachers. I also get a lot more.”

Teachers understand the upside of cell phone use, but are well aware of their negative effect as well.

“As for as cellphones go I think sometimes they can be really helpful because they can be a resource to  look up images and that can be really helpful in the classroom” art teacher Shannon Blakey said. “At the same time it’s a double edged sword  because sometimes they are definitely used for other purposes like playing games or talking to people that they shouldn’t be, I think it’s one of those things that has to be monitored in order to be an effective tool”.

Sophomore Tarnue Tyler enjoys his phone during art class.
Sophomore Tarnue Tyler enjoys his phone during art class.
By Paige Rapisarda
What do you think of cell phone use during class?