Help with smartphones in the classroom?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by teachThemStuff, May 2, 2022.

  1. teachThemStuff

    teachThemStuff New Member

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    May 2, 2022

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forum, happy to be here!
    I'm curious if any of you have any tips for controlling smartphone usage in the classroom? Lately it's been a bit uncontrollable, with many students checking apps like social media during class.

    I'd be keen to hear from you if you have / had similar problems, and if you know of any decent solutions to help with it?

    Thanks.
     
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  3. MrTempest

    MrTempest Comrade

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    May 2, 2022

    What is your school's policy on phones?
     
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  4. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    May 2, 2022

    That's what I was going to ask. The school's policy is the best place to start. Unfortunately, some schools have no policies and leave it up to the teacher so every classroom will have different rules which makes no sense. It's like the school doesn't want to deal with on a higher level so they make teachers be the bad guys.
     
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  5. teachThemStuff

    teachThemStuff New Member

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    May 2, 2022

    The policy is no phones in the classroom, except sometimes for apps that are necessary during class. It's sometimes hard to check whether they're actually spending time on those apps, instead of on other more distracting ones. Any experiences with this? I'd be curious to hear how you handle this. I don't wanna feel like a police officer all the time
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    May 2, 2022

    The problem is that schools may say no phones in the classroom, but they won't back you up when it comes time to either remove the phone from the student (lawsuit issues if they break an expensive phone) or write up the student for disciplinary action because of use that is unwarranted - and the parents will absolutely back their student. The pandemic made the use of technology so widespread that there is really no putting the horse back into the barn. It would be wonderful if there was an easy fix, but magical thinking and wishing is just not going to fix this problem. Try to keep the lessons moving quickly, try to move about the room during instruction, since this makes it harder for them to be online "discreetly" if you are moving among the students. You can sometimes beat them at their own game by requiring them to actually use their phones during the lessons, since this means less available time to check other apps. Sometimes a direction to turn all phones off and place them on top of their desks will deter some students, but the sneaky ones are amazingly good and fast when they are determined to be online.
     
  7. Joseph Williams

    Joseph Williams Rookie

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    May 3, 2022

    In my classes, I usually say a time when they totally need to be off. Then there are times when they can be used when it's independent work time (like to listen to music). I say there are times it's okay and other times it's not.
     
  8. Spakuloid

    Spakuloid New Member

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    May 22, 2022

    Phone caddy/Charging station. As kids walk in - greet and tell them all phones in the caddy - turned off. You can make it a lesson. Reinstate the rules every day until it becomes routine. Helps if you do this from day 1. Also have students sign a phone rules contract. Get parents involved if possible. Phones are the bane of teaching right now. You are the phone police. I let my 10-11 graders use phones a few minutes before the bell.
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 22, 2022

    We have a policy that students need to keep their phone in a backpack or a bag. No phones on the person in class.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    May 24, 2022

    I've worked in two districts that had the same policy, but when the tire met the highway, they wouldn't back up a teacher who had a problem with students who conveniently "forgot" the policy, which they interpretted to mean they could use the phone simply because they had it with them. Not once did the admin back up any teacher who was targeted by a parent as being "unreasonable" for writing up students who chose to use the phone in class even after being told the phone was not allowed to be out during class. Administration who turns a blind eye and fails to support the teachers in the classroom have, in essence, simply given the control of the phones to parents and their children, and the teachers come in dead last when trying to obey policy. Consider that just my observation here in NJ.
     
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  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I think a problem can occur when the school leaves it up to individual teachers to make up a classroom policy. If Mr. Rogers lets you have your phone out in math and Miss Frizzle doesn't allow them in Science then the students are likely to forget about each particular policy OR they can say they forgot because every class is different.
     
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  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    May 26, 2022

    I would agree with that, but both schools I taught in basically said no using cell phones in the building, but then wouldn't support teachers who wrote up the students for using the phones (not in classroom instruction) nor would they remove the phones from the students, which left the teachers with their hands tied. Parents didn't want the phones out of their children's hands, nor did they feel that there should be any consequences for students choosing to use their phones while in class, when the use was not related to class activity. The parents backed their student's right to use the phone whenever and wherever they wanted, with no concern that students were disrupting class, sometimes cheating on tests by looking up answers when they thought the teacher wasn't looking. Left me with a bad taste in my mouth when the school didn't establish a firm policy that could be enforced fairly by staff, so their lip service was worthless.
     
  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    May 27, 2022

    This is why behaviors are so out of control. Teachers can't do or say anything to the students without the parents complaining or intervening or contradicting the teacher. It's despicable. If you don't want your child to listen to the teachers then homeschool them.
     
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