The Benefits of Using Cell Phones in Class

by Becky Parmiter

author email [email protected]

Cellphone distraction2

Cell phones have received a bad reputation in the classroom. From concerns over using them to cheat on tests and exams, to their general ability to distract students from learning materials, cell phones have been banned in many school settings. However, if framed correctly, there are many pros to allowing cell phones in schools. They can be a valuable addition to the classroom with students being able to access content online, take and create sample tests and quizzes, and connect with one another in true modern fashion. 

Completing banning access to cell phones may see students rebel and disconnect from the system. In a digital era where the online world moves 24/7, it is important to become a positive influence in how phones are used, instead of writing them off as a disturbance. We have to adapt with the times. 

Websites like are an educational tool for teachers and students of all ages. This site in particular features a complete online exam system which works across multiple platforms - mobile devices, tables, desktops, and laptops. It supplements the student experience, where pupils can connect, create their own personalized practice tests, and focus on challenging subjects. This website acts as a support system to the educational experience. It is accessible anywhere you can connect to the internet. Not only does this mean that students can study and practice anywhere, anytime, it also means that there’s no waiting for test results, it’s all automatic.


The Comfort Zone

Most modern students have grown up in the online era. Incorporating smart phones in the classroom can put students at ease, making them feel more comfortable in and educational setting. The reality of the 21st century is that young people are intuitively tied to their digital lives. If used correctly, mobile phones can be a great educational tool for expanding the brain. 


Apps as a Learning Aid 

There are many ways that cellphones can be used as a learning aid. 

Firstly, smartphones provide a plethora of applications that are designed to help students learn. Teachers can select the applications that they think are best and include them as part of the learning curriculum. Many apps are built like games allowing students to have fun while learning to retain information, and can even create a healthy competition amongst peers. Using these can give a great break in the lesson plan for students to use what they’ve learned and test themselves. offers students the ability to build their own tests to challenge their knowledge. These can be shared amongst peers so that students can approach the material from a different perspective. Teachers can also administer quizzes on students cell phones to see how well they’re absorbing the material in real time. 


Digital Platforms in the Lesson Plan 

Teachers can leverage digital content to help their students learn. From accessing videos, to audio media, to news stories, online materials can be a great learning aid for students to visualize, hear, and better understand the topics being taught. This can also encourage students to participate more and become a part of the dialogue. 

For example, archival footage can be utilized in history lessons. Footage of laboratory experiments can be used in science classes. Film can be used for media arts studies. And so forth. 

Audio visual materials can really bring the lesson to life. For instance, referencing images, maps, or videos from the Second World War can make that period of time seem more tangible to those studying it. It also allows students to see how people worldwide are interacting and learning from the material. 


Online Resources 

A wealth of knowledge on pretty much every subject matter is available online. If a student doesn’t have access to a laptop at home, they can use their cellphone as a search engine to help get answers quickly. 

Cell phones should be viewed as a valuable resource in the classroom. If a student has questions about the meaning of a word, they can look it up. They can also use online search engines to double-check their spelling, find synonyms for frequently used words, and further research the things that are peaking their interest. Popular online applications for searches like this are the the Merriam-Webster Dictionary App and the Webster’s Thesaurus App. 

By teaching students how to use their cell phones to enhance their educational experience, teachers can have a significant hand in establishing healthy online rituals. Aside from verbal applications, math students can use online calculators and applications to help them hone their mathematical skills. 

For example, uses MathJax software, an open source JavaScript display engine which allows for mathematical expressions to be written and annotated. 

This plugin can be used by pupils in mathematical studies who want to be able to visualize mathematical formulas in an aesthetically pleasing way. MathJax uses fonts to produce formulas at a high resolution in a text-based format, allowing formulas and equations to be searchable through regular web engines. This is a wonderful way to get students to see math past the paper.  

On another note, has a bounty of online tests for students to practice with. The inventory is quite large so there is a very good chance that students can find a number of tests to practice their skill set. The website allows students and teachers to contact each other directly via the web platform. Teachers answer questions and address concerns at any time. 

Another great example of how online mobile applications can enhance the learning experience is’s Google Classroom Integration. This allows online seamless assignment creation and distribution, through Google’s proprietary add-ons such as Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Calendar. This is a simple paperless workflow that allows teachers to create and send assignments. Some assignments might even be able to be marked automatically, providing instant feedback. 


cell phones in class

Access to forums

The internet provides a wealth of forums where students can interact with peers from around the world to discuss topics of interests, concepts they’re having a hard time grasping, and for a general snapshot at how others absorb the material. has an open forum for its members which can be treated as a public way to discuss topics with multiple people feeding back into it. 



Most mobile phones have built-in calendars which can help students learn to manage their time, check their assignment schedule immediately, and keep track of important test dates. This can be especially useful for students who have a hard time keeping themselves organized. Alarms can be set for important reminders.  

There are other applications that can help create task lists for students so they can stay on top of their to-do lists. These are generally easier to manage than paper planners.  

Cloud-based note apps like Evernote can keep track of students' notes and will store them across all of the devices they log in to. If a teacher uses Evernote, they can share notes and pictures with the students over the app. 


Promotes Responsibility 

Teaching students how to use their mobile devices in a healthy way should be part of the educational system. Instead of treating cell phones as a distraction, teachers can create highly engaging sessions that call for students to use their phones to seek out answers to questions. This can help formulate critical thinking skills.  

Furthermore, enabling students to use their phones in the classroom builds a relationship of trust in that particular setting. While teachers will still need to monitor cell phone usage, the phone is no longer the enemy. Instructors can look to providing exciting content that intersects the online element of modern living. And in doing so, the teachers themselves can model a healthy cell phone relationship to their classroom. 


Inclusive Learning 

For differently-abled students, using their cell phone as a learning and communication aid completely revolutionizes their time in the classroom. This allows them the opportuity to be an active participant and socially thrive in their educational experience. 


Time Keeping

Cell phones are also a useful time-keeping tool. They allow students to keep track of how much time a task is taking. It encourages them to be punctual and to learn time management skills.  


Communication with Parents

For young students, cell phones are a direct line of contact to their caretakers. Having access to their cell phone provides parents with the ability to check-in without having to go through the school administration. For anxious parents, this can be a saving grace. 


GPS Tracking

Again this is a feature for young students. GPS trackers on cell phones can give parents the peace of mind that their kids are indeed in class and not skipping school. 


Emergency Contact Information 

Not only does the cell phone store important emergency phone numbers, it can also store medical data that might be necessary in the case of an emergency – things like the doctor’s phone number, known allergies, prescriptions, etc. 


Tips for Teachers

  1. Use the Silence Feature 

    To avoid disruptive moments during lessons, teachers can enforce a silence feature rule so that cell phone notifications and audio don’t interrupt the lesson at hand.

  2. Test the Student’s Knowledge

    Teachers can create quizzes on to test how well students are absorbing the subject material before an upcoming examination. These exams are multiple-choice. Teachers are notified when an exam is taken and results are provided in real time. This can be very useful in understanding how individual students are learning the material and also seeing an overview of how successfully the class is performing as a whole.

  3. Give Students Breaks

    In the professional world, mini-breaks are encouraged to foster productivity and creativity. Teachers should be open to letting students have some fun on their phones, in a limited and timed capacity.

    Allowing students to listen to their music while working on assignments can help them stay focused.

  4. “Flipped” Classroom Lectures

    “Flipped” Classroom lectures are a new way of administrating homework. Teachers can record either audio or video lectures that students can play when doing their homework. 

  5. Providing materials

    Instead of using paper for your curriculum handouts, teachers can create digital content that goes straight to the students’ cell phones. No more excuses for lost homework, digital assignments, references, and resources can travel with student anywhere and can be accessed with great speed.

  6. Create a message board for your lessons

    Get students involved in research by having that post relative links of articles, websites, photos, videoes, etc. for the lessons. This allows students to take ownership of what they’re learning, what they’re interested, and in co-creating their educational environment. 

In conclusion, there are many studies and articles out there criticizing the damage that cell phone use is doing to growing minds, the toll it’s taking on the educational system, and how it might be harming the social environment of young students. But banning cell phones from the classroom is both difficult to uphold and is teaching students that there is something inherently harmful in using their cell phones. But cell phones are not going anywhere and as such, it’s best to adapt to the times rather than try to force an old era of learning on a new generation of pupils. 


Websites like harness the power of online platforms by making learning fun, accessible, and interactive for all. There are really no substitutes for the amount of useful information and opportunities to educate oneself online. Endeavor to inspire your students to use their phones as a way to learn more and better themselves. 


Return to blog page