Mobile phones in the classroom: friend or foe?

Aditya Singhal

Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of CrunchGrade, an online tutoring platform for students. It is his passion and vision to incorporate technology with education to help students not just thrive, but excel through e-learning mediums and tools. He has also worked with Kurt Salmon Associates, a reputed American Management Consultancy. Reach out to him on Facebook and LinkedIn!

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Students using mobile phones in the classroom has always been considered an element of distraction. There are many schools that don't allow mobile phones, and students believe that it's an odd rule. Yes, there was a time when there were no smartphones, and mobile phones were used only for calling and texting purposes. But in the digital era, things have changed: mobile phones are used as a mode of uncovering information quickly. Smartphones have the technology to function as a personal computer in your hand. This can help students stay connected with technology and the internet, meaning many sources of information are easily accessible and instant. Still, it has been a topic of debate whether mobile phones in the classroom are friend or foe.

To understand this in detail here are the pros and cons of using mobile phones in the classroom:


Communication is easy: Mobile phones make communicating with parents and taking important calls much simpler. There can be times when a parent wants to coordinate with their child during an emergency or important issue. It doesn't mean that a student is using the phone for chatting whenever they feel like, but it can be an important tool to use during break times.

A learning tool: Mobile phones can be used as a tool for learning. There are many educational apps through which a student can learn, collaborate, and re-engage. Knowledge never goes waste, so if a student is learning something apart from what is taught in school, it will be useful for them. A student can instantly browse for any information on the internet. The internet is an important part of providing information, and with the right guidance, should be utilised to as a learning tool.

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Helps retain information from lessons: There are many situations in school where students must retain information from practical classes where they must observe, report, and refer to in exams. Taking photos with a smartphone is an easy and efficient way to keep this information stored ready for revision.

Remembering the dates: There are times when a teacher shares a date about a class test or an important event that will take place in the school. These dates can be saved in the inbuilt calendar every smartphone has, rather than it getting lost in the back of a notebook.

Collaborate with other students: Smartphones help students to collaborate. They can instantly read and share a lot of information with other students, asking for feedback and advice.

Online quizzes: Classroom quizzes have become a popular quick way of discussing questions and answers. This can be done in a more creative and interesting way by making an online quiz where students can visit a website and choose the correct answers, saving you time from marking or scheduling time to peer mark. Grabbing attention from the teachers: A smartphone can be used as a tool for quickly grabbing your attention. You can create a shared class group in which teachers can send important questions, and students can discuss their thoughts.

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Disconnecting from face to face socialising: There are many people who believe that students using social media sites and spending more time on smartphones are disconnecting from face to face socializing. Face to face interaction is an important aspect of communication, so the key is finding a balance.

Source of cheating: A student can hide their phone and use it for cheating. Keep this in mind and set up a system for monitoring phone use when they’re prohibited from being used. It’s all about handling tech in a positive way and utilising the technology in a practical way.

There are people who think that smartphones are only bringing negativity, but it’s all about understanding the real value of what tech is giving us.

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