1 in 4 Professors Ban Mobile Phone Use in Class — Campus Technology
Teaching with Technology Survey
Survey: 1 in 4 Professors Ban Mobile Phone Use in Class
In our third annual Teaching with Technology Survey, a quarter of faculty respondents said they do not allow students to use mobile phones in the classroom.
Should cell phones be permitted in class? In a recent survey of faculty members at colleges and universities across the country, feelings on the subject were mixed. While 26 percent of respondents said they do allow students to use mobile phones in the classroom, about the same number — 25 percent — said they do not. Half of respondents allow limited use of the devices.
These findings come out of Campus Technology‘s third annual Teaching with Technology Survey, which asked higher education faculty for their perspective on technology in the classroom, its impact on students and its potential in the future. A few of our survey respondents also shared their thoughts on mobile phone use in particular — revealing the complexity of the issue:
“I’m concerned about students and faculty feeling they always have to be connected. People need time away from their devices,” noted a faculty member at a four-year public institution in Ohio. “I think that’s getting harder to manage.”
“Many people are anti-mobile phone use in the classroom,” admitted another faculty member at a four-year private nonprofit institution in Texas, who saw a silver lining to the technology: “The one advantage is that the student can only look at one screen at a time, which actually helps their focus. If you can integrate learning activities that use the phone, the students really seem to better absorb the content.”
And a faculty member at a four-year public institution in Michigan pointed out that students often don’t see the learning potential of their devices: “My students only know how to use their smartphones to call/text/play games/monitor social media — they do not see their smartphones as micro-computers that can do so much more.”
Learning tool or no, the mobile phone is one of students’ top two favorite technologies to use in the classroom, according to our survey. Forty-nine percent of faculty respondents said laptops were the most popular device used by their students, with mobile phones coming in second at 38 percent. Smart watches were deemed the least favorite device used by students, garnering zero responses.
Where are all these mobile devices coming from? Forty-one percent of respondents said their institutions require students to provide their own devices, and 21 percent said their institutions provide all or some students with devices. At 79 percent of institutions represented in our survey, no devices are provided (but they are not necessarily required).
About half of faculty respondents (54 percent) believe their institutions should provide devices to all students, to some extent. Slightly more (59 percent) think students should provide their own devices.