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Electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops can be a very enriching addition to learning where learners have instant access to “encyclopedia like” information at their fingertips.  I wish I had a smartphone in the 80’s and 90’s for my college days! These kids are so lucky!  Back to the topic, cell phone use can have a negative impact in the classroom unless the instructor clearly states his/her policy on cell phone use during lectures.  In my private college where I teach, we are evolving to a paperless school where learners bring electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones and follow the lecture from those digital notes versus paper notes.  Our learning platform is Canvas and it is very user friendly.  So it’s imperative that learners have access to their electronic devices.  It’s important to clarify the cell phone/texting in class policy right in the beginning of the course when the course outline is read.  Learners are told what is expected of them. In a perfect world, we would have our students learning and listening to instructors attentively and with focused engagement.  But we know in real life, learners must be connected to what is happening in their world, emergency or not, and at the same time, dedicate learning in the classroom.  It’s a catch 22…a delicate balance of respect, learning and evolving.  Here’s an interesting article on cell phone use in the classroom…what is your policy?

Faculty Focus (April 2013) states “Once the instructor has a clear understanding of the potential positive or negative impact of allowing cell phone use, he or she must clearly state policies in the syllabus. If the faculty member allows phone use, he or she then must clearly state how the cell phone can be used. If no cell phone use is allowed, this too must be clearly stated and students need to know the repercussions for violating the policy. For example, if my students use their cell phones during class, they must leave class for the rest of the day. If the violation occurs in the clinical area, they receive a formal warning. After the second warning, they are dismissed from the program”.  

 Reference:  Faculty Focus.  Cell phones in the classroom. What is your policy?


After reading this article, what is your opinion on cell phone use and stating your policy? Are you going to allow your students to use them for education research during the classroom or are you going to ban them?  In my informal assessment (not for marks) reviews, I use socrative.com to post assessment/summary review what was just taught.  Students love the anonymity of it and create a pseudo name that allows them to view if their answers were correct on the projector.  It’s a very effective, simple and quick way to assess what they learned is accurate.  Has anyone use socrative to assess learning informally or formally?  Who has used it for pre-assessment summary? Post-assessment summary?  Thanks, Tia