Cell phones help high-achieving students’ academic life

Kailey Billeci, Guest Writer

In many school districts globally, teachers have become frustrated with students who use their devices in class. Even though there are some concerns surrounding cell phone use in school, they have strong benefits for high-achieving students living in the modern world.

The main argument in opposition to cell phones is that they can distract students, however, it is important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. There are many ways to get distracted during class that are not from a cell phone as well as hundreds of different types of students that react differently to the presence of cell phones. The environment in which a student is working is a huge part of what leads to distractions. While writing this essay, my mind seemed to continuously wander onto different topics. I moved to my kitchen where it was quiet and I was able to work in a space that helped me keep my focus, my phone remaining the same distance from me in both locations. 

The many variables that go into a student becoming distracted are detailed in a paper by Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy. Beland and Murphy found active cell phone bans had “ no significant impact on high achievers.” In fact, phones have even been shown to have benefits in the classroom.

Ken Halla teaches an AP class and incorporates technology to help his students in his class. In an article from the National Education Association website by Edward Graham, Halla has found many benefits to allowing his students access to their devices. Cell phones’ most immediate benefit is that they accommodate classes who cannot gain access to school laptops or afford to bring their own. This can be helpful as it allows students to engage in class when an assignment is strictly online.

Cell phones also allow students to access the internet to enhance their understanding of their class lectures and make a class more enjoyable and engaging. Halla found that “his students are quieter and more focused on their assignments when they are allowed to listen to their music during individual classwork.” Cell phones were shown to also help students in college. In a study done at Stockton University, it was found that students use their cell phones for “planning for learning,” “[completing] school-related tasks,” and “[creating] discussions.” This use of technology allows students to have access to countless resources that are beneficial for the course as well as “[increasing] student engagement [and] respecting various learning styles[…].”

Not limiting students’ access to their phones will help create a prosperous learning environment.

Cell phones can lead to students being distracted in class, but phones do not guarantee that a class will not listen to the teacher. If students achieve well in a class, as many AP or college-bound students do, a cell phone will not impede their focus. Cell phones can lead to several benefits for students as they can help them better engage in the discussion and enrich their understanding. Cell phones bans can harm these high-achieving students that are more productive with access to their devices