Teachers noting learning gains after new limitations on cell phones

As everyone knows, after seeing all the lost instructional time in the past, secondary staff decided to make a big change in policy for using phones in school.

“They are a huge distraction, and students will focus their time on that instead of paying attention to the class,” physics teacher Autumn Weaver said. “Social media and the notifications will distract most people who have it on them, which is why the Cedar Falls High School has the students keep their phones in the backpacks.”  

English teacher Matthew Klemesrud saw the same dilemma and noted that removing the phones just helps students attend to learning first. He said,  “Once they are out of sight and out of mind can students truly focus on the task at hand” Weaver said.  

Although there are some problems with distractions, there are still some opportunities where phones can also be an educational tool, like in Traci Lake’s AP human geography class. “I have found that they can be useful for quick response and quick reply to questions that are more of a multiple choice or a true or false question,” Lake said.  

Weaver has also incorporated cell phones as a tool at targeted times. “In the science classrooms, they are beneficial when using things such as a timer or a recording device; however, we have different platforms as well.  We can also use different assessment type things on cell phones,” Weaver said.  

However, she still prefers to use Chromebooks and other technology tools over phones. “I don’t think phones should be allowed in school because although they are useful they provide too much of a distraction in class,” Weaver said.  “We can use other things like computers to fill the job of smartphones in class although they might be harder to use.”

Lake has a similar view. “They are a easy way to get distracted, and you fall into the rabbit hole of checking messages and other stuff, so I think that they should stay in student’s backpacks until class is over,” she said. “There is always the right time at the right place to use smartphones like when recording things or getting information quickly, but it is not needed in class most of the time.”

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