3 Tips for Managing Phone Use in Class
Setting cell phone expectations early is key to accessing the learning potential of these devices and minimizing the distraction factor.
Liz Kolb September 11, 2017
Ask your students questions such as:
- What do you like to do on your cell phone and why? (If they don’t have one, what would they like to do?)
- What are the most popular apps and websites you use?
- What do you think are inappropriate ways that cell phones have been used?
- What is poor cell phone etiquette? Why?
- How can cell phones help you learn?
- How can cell phones distract from your learning?
- How do you feel about your cell phone and the activities you do on your phone?
- What should teachers know about your cell phone use that you worry we do not understand?
- Do you know how to use your cell phone to gather information, to collaborate on academic projects, to evaluate websites?
- How can we work together to create a positive mobile mental health?
Using a Stoplight Management Approach
Post a red button on the classroom door: the cell phone parking lot.
Post a yellow button on the classroom door: Students know their cell phones should be on silent (vibrate) and placed face down in the upper right-hand corner of their desk. They will be using them in class, but not the whole time.
Post a green button on the classroom door: Students know they should have their phones turned on (either silenced or set on vibrate) and placed face up in ready position to use throughout the class.
Establishing a Class Contract
Ask your students to help you develop social norms for what is and is not appropriate cell phone use during green and yellow button times. Should they be allowed to go on their social media networks during class? Why or why not?
Ask them to brainstorm consequences and write them into a class contract.
more on the use of smart phones in the classroom in this IMS blog