Cell Phones in the Classroom: Teachers’ Perspectives of Inclusion, Benefits, and Barriers
Kevin M. Thomas , Blanche W. O’Bannon & Natalie Bolton
Pages 295-308 | Published online: 11 Dec 2013
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Historically viewed as a disruption by teachers, cell phones have been banned from 69% of classrooms (Common Sense Media, 2009). The increased ubiquity and instructional features of cell phones have prompted some teachers to re-evaluate the ban and consider the benefits associated with allowing cell phones in the classroom. This study surveyed 79 teachers to determine their perceptions of using cell phones for classroom instruction. Findings indicated that the majority (69%) of teachers support the use of cell phones in the classroom and were presently using them for school-related work. Teachers identified student engagement and motivation as the primary benefits; barriers included lack of access and class disruption.
KEYWORDS: cell phones, mobile phones, mobile learning, bring your own device, in-service teachers
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Mobile devices such as laptops, personal digital assistants, and mobile phones have become a learning tool with great potential in both classrooms and outdoor learning. Although there have been qualitative analyses of the use of mobile devices in education, systematic quantitative analyses of the effects of mobile-integrated education are lacking. This study performed a meta-analysis and research synthesis of the effects of integrated mobile devices in teaching and learning, in which 110 experimental and quasiexperimental journal articles published during the period 1993–2013 were coded and analyzed. Overall, there was a moderate mean effect size of 0.523 for the application of mobile devices to education. The effect sizes of moderator variables were analyzed and the advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning in different levels of moderator variables were synthesized based on content analyses of individual studies. The results of this study and their implications for both research and practice are discussed.