Cell phone bans in schools aren’t working, so teachers are coming up with ways to make phones part of their curriculum. According to MSNBC, almost 70 percent of high-schools have cell phone bans in place, but a majority of students use them anyway. Out of the over 400 text messages that teens send every day, almost a quarter of them are during class time. While texting is an annoyance, the real problem teachers have with phones in class is the cheating. Common Sense Media is a non-profit group that studies how kids use technology. In a recent study they found that a third of all students use cell phones to cheat. They’ll keep notes on the screen to help them in quizzes or text a friend to get correct answers. Some even say they’ve taken a picture of a quiz and sent it to their friends who’ll be taking the test later.
Punishing the students and banning phones hasn’t worked. So teachers and administrators are changing their tune on bans. The American Association of School Administrators says it’d be a shame not to use cell phones for school work. They say smart phones can do almost everything a desktop computer can these days, and we should engage students by allowing them to use the technology they’re constantly using anyway. Besides, most school can’t afford a desktop for every student, so it makes sense to use whatever technology is available.
So how are teachers incorporating cell phones into their classes? One Spanish teacher in Florida sends her kids on scavenger hunts around the school by sending them text messages in Spanish. Another teacher in Pennsylvania has students use their cell phone to answer poll questions he sets up during class. He says he can immediately see which students get it and he can focus his attention on the ones who don’t. Other teachers send out homework assignments and reminders via text or have their kids surf the web to find answers to tough problems.