Using Phones in Classrooms Brings Students Engaging Opportunities


By Sydney Ellison

If a phone was out in class 15 years ago, it would have caused a shock to go through the room because a mobile phone was a new, intriguing concept. Now they are a regular part of students’ lives. In a 2018 study done by the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens have a smartphone or have the ability to access one.

“I think you’re doing a disservice if you’re acting like technology isn’t important and continuing to be a part of our lives,” English teacher Kristen Johnson said.

Classes across FHN differ greatly in their phone policies, but teachers like Johnson are continuously trying to find ways for students to utilize their phones in their classrooms. She claims that phones are nothing to fight but something to use in a positive, teachable way.

“Now everyone is so used to going to the internet for answers and instead of denying that as a teacher, she is embracing it and using it as a tool,” junior Angela Cuccio said.

From 2014-18 there has been a 22 percent increase in the number of teens that have access to a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center. It can be seen that a trend is occuring in the increasing amount of smartphones. However, their place in the classroom is still up for debate in 2019.

“Phones, they can be really valuable tools or they can be relentless distractions,” head principal Nathan Hostetler said. “They can be really good or really bad, it really just depends on the use. It’s like a car, they are invaluable but sometimes they can kill someone.”

In history teacher Zachary Fettig’s classroom, phones can be considered a necessity to some. Notes are available on his website and can make following along to his lectures easier. He has little to no strict rules or policies against phones.

“Students are going to figure out a way to use their phones regardless,” Fettig said. “I think being a little more lenient in my case maybe will keep a kid from getting in trouble with their parents or something along those lines.”

The use of smartphones in class can be felt by students as seen in a 2017 survey by Top Hat which states that 94 percent of students want to use smartphones in class for academic purposes. Apps and digital services like Kahoot, Quizlet, Nearpod and more are ways that digital learning can brought into classrooms.

“I really feel like there is a place for them [smartphones] and I want to find exactly what that place is in terms of how it can be something that allows students to be successful,” Johnson said.