Home Opinion Phone Usage Impacts Students’ Learning

Phone Usage Impacts Students’ Learning

Students often use cell phones in class, even when they are not supposed to. The question is, when did phones become more important than learning? Image Credit: Alexa Cuevas, 42Fifty

According to US News, 77% of schools have discontinued the usage of cell phones during class time by 2020. But the question is, when did phones become more important than learning? 

A mobile phone is a major thing for a young adult to have. There are good things about having a phone at all times like contacting parents, siblings, family members, work, and friends in case of an emergency. 

However, students are also checking text messages, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms. “I think teachers bringing up the conversation about the phones doesn’t really help because students will go on their phones anyway,” said OHS senior Sofia Zafra. 

Since COVID-19, a lot of students relied on their mobile devices for entertainment and homework.  Coming back to school from the pandemic, teachers witnessed the difficulty in breaking the habit of phone usage in class. 

According to Piedmont, our brains release minuscule amounts of dopamine: “Dopamine motivates us to take action and each time we hear a notification, we check our device. Our brains want more dopamine, which triggers the habit of checking our phones constantly throughout the day.”

¨I wouldn’t say [I’m] mad, but disappointing that students choose to ignore an opportunity to learn¨ said Jessica Yandun, a Spanish teacher at OHS. 

Hey Teach, published by teacher’s college Western Governers University (WGU), stated that teachers and other staff members struggle with students’ addiction to being on their phones.  According to WGU, “78 percent of teens check their devices at least hourly, and 72 percent of teens feel the need to immediately respond to texts, messages on social networks, and other notifications.” 

Teachers began establishing rules when giving students a choice on where to put their phones to lessen distraction. 

Teachers also started giving their students an agreement to sign to not use their phones during class time. Having their parents or guardian sign off on that policy and return it to the teacher. 

¨I prefer students to have their phones away and in an inconvenient location because otherwise their attention will be with their phone and they will miss out on opportunities to learn,” said math teacher Molly Schulte.

Others always look at the negatives of having a cell phone during class time, but there are also positives.  According to Minga, it’s a campus management platform for schools, there are ten different reasons why phones should be allowed in schools. One interesting fact I found from Minga was that having a phone accelerates students’ learning. Students who join sports or clubs are able to communicate through their socials and connect with each other like a team. According to Minga, “Using virtual social tools can have the same effect and help students stay engaged in a classroom environment.”

Even when COVID-19 wasn’t around yet, the topic of phones has been an issue through middle school and high school. Timetoast, a virtual timeline of factual events, shows a timeline from 1973-2020 of how long the topic of phone usage has been around. 

“Most of the time, [I’ll be on my phone] because the class is boring or I’m not really interested in the material,” said OHS senior Lorianis De Jesus.  
According to Teachhub, they list five different ways teachers can teach differently.  “Teachers can easily use technology to substitute phone usage. Students often enjoy using clicker devices to play whole-class interactive games”.

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Hello, my name is Alexa Cuevas and I'm currently a senior in high school. This will be my second year on being a staff member for 42Fifty and being a spanish editor.



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