Math Teacher Steve Willott Uses Smart Phones in the Classroom to Engage His Students


By Andrew Reese

Coming after the short era of flip phones, smartphones are quickly becoming a staple in the average student’s toolbox. But, the limitless potential of smartphones makes it easy for students to find themselves straying away from their classwork and slipping into a game or social media platform.

“I’m pretty sure if you walked into a classroom and watched everyone in the class, each person would check their phone at least once,” senior Emilee Statzer said.

The usage of smartphones in class has increased exponentially over the past 10 years. This means teachers, such as math teacher Steve Willott, have to constantly adapt to the new trends and changing features with phones. Even before the smartphone came out teachers had to deal with advanced texters on flip phones.

“A lot of the kids were really good at staring at you with their hands in their pockets typing a text to their friends,” Willott said.

Willott is restyling his lesson plans in order to take his students phones and use them for more educational material. From Kahoot to Desmos, the online graphing calculator, Willott’s students have no shortage of fun activities that utilize their devices.

“It’s just a way faster, better use of our time,” Willott said.

However, the convenience of smartphones is a curse as much as it is a blessing. With the abundance and popularity of smartphones, they’ve become a constant nuisance for teachers trying to give lessons. Student’s reliance on their phones for entertainment and help with everyday tasks creates a strong pull to use them.

“I think if it’s just sitting there at least half of you wants to pick it up and not do anything productive for the next hour,” junior Jay Scott said.

Despite this downside, Willott has overcome it by making sure his students balance their electronic and non-electronic school work.

“There’s plenty of times where I’m not expecting the kids to bring the book with them,” Willott said. “I’ll say, ‘Just look this up. You can find this online,’ or something like that.”