Cell Phones in Education 1
Cell Phones in Education
November 28, 2007
Cell Phones in Education 2
This paper gives background information on cell phones. It goes on to explain how cell
phones became prominent in this generation. It explains how internet has become an
essential part of society and how the cell phone, with the internet, so that one can also be
on the run, is a force to be reckoned with. It explains the positive aspects of cell phones in
education. Games, date books, and calculators are used to explain how each is good for
education. It explains the various problems that cell phones cause in the classroom,
cheating being the most prominent. Cheating with cell phones are easy with text
messaging, which was also named as an advantage, so text messaging, like most things,
could be good and bad.
Cell Phones in Education 3
Cell Phones in Education
Technology is becoming a lot more common these days, and making life easier.
So easy, that people don’t have jobs anymore. Cells phones are prominent as well, and
the various programs that they are now using in cell phones make cell phones an
interesting thing to study. Cell phones have calculators, date books, games, text
messaging, mp3 players, the internet, and even a GPS tracking device! These are not the
only things on cell phones, but are the ones mostly used. Cell phones are also used to
educate. Most of the applications on cell phones have a purpose in education. Cell phones
have become very prominent in the coming years, and there are positive and negative
Internet is a powerful and insightful tool. Through the internet, one can do
anything: pay bills, shop, etc. Before cell phones were invented to carry the internet, the
drawback to the internet had been to sit down to use it. It took people away from
everyday activities. Before the cell phone movement in the late 1800s, people were using
“call boxes” and telegraphs, which were not really effective in case of emergencies
(Levinson, 6). In 1876, a guy named Alexander Graham Bell came up with the “Bell
telephone.” (Levinson, 6). It was invented so people could have access to each other at all
times. Then, the cell phone did not come with a lot of different applications. Its only
function was a talking device. Once the internet hit the mobile phone, it became a
powerful tool. “In the 1980s, as computers rapidly became smaller, faster, cheaper, and
with larger capacities, the information and telecommunications industries became more
intertwined (Fukukawa, 86). Now, people could get out of their seats to enjoy the
freedom of surfing the internet on the go. No longer would people have to sit to enjoy the
Cell Phones in Education 4
benefits of the internet. Through the internet, people could access different applications,
which lead to the evolution of cell phones. Cell phones evolve over time, based on what
humans need most. Cell phones are a good thing to use, and definitely are good for
There are advantages to using the cell phone in education. Cell phones were not
always accepted as a good thing though. More than a decade after many school systems
and states prohibited students from carrying and using pagers and cellular phones in
schools, state lawmakers and administrators were rethinking their positions. The
widespread use of the devices and parents' concerns about their children's safety were
prompting new policies that allowed student use under strict guidelines. One example is
the proliferation of cellular phones in society is the anxiety after the September 11
terrorist attacks (Roberto, 7).
The attacks were prompting some school systems and states to rethink their
campus bans on the devices. Some states -- such as Maryland and Virginia -- lifted their
bans prior to September 11, in response to the widespread use of phones by youths. These
states now allow school districts to draft their own policies. “Some of the students told
their parents it was hard to reach them [on September 11] because all the public phones
were in use and they were not allowed to carry cell phones,” (Ellen, 2), says Marge
Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the New York City Board of Education (Glenn, 6). Now
the chancellor is looking into changing the policy because they want students to be able
to reach their parents in the event of an emergency. When cell phones were banned, it
was bad, but luckily people recognized the good that these little mobile devices do for
Cell Phones in Education 5
There are valid reasons for kids to have cell phones: Nowadays, cell phones are
very popular. Nearly everyone has one. “Wireless networking …devices… are enabling
students to exchange data quickly and accurately…” (DiGiano, et al., 284). Text
messaging definitely makes it easier to get and receive information. That is always a
good thing. The cell phone has so many functions, that its name shouldn’t be the cell
phone anymore. We like talking on cell phones, and playing games. Games, specifically,
are very good for education. Different elements in game playing teach people all the time.
This is why games are good for education. Rules are the first element, which is very
important. (Schwabe, and Goth, 205). The rules of the games tell players exactly how to
play to excel, and win. This element teaches organizational skills. If the rules are not
followed correctly, then one would lose. Goals and objectives are also just as important
(Schwabe, and Goth, 205). Through the goals and objectives, players learn to task plan.
Every person needs a game plan in order to win.
Another educational game playing strategy is conflict and challenge (Schwabe,
and Goth, 205). People are naturally completive, and when presented with some sort of
challenge, they want to come out on top. This teaches people to always strive for the best.
Games are not the only educational tool on phones. Calculators are good for calculating
math especially when one is terrible in it. Date books organize your day. Cell phones can
help us organize our daily plans. They can remind us of meetings, duties etc. Cell phones
are like a computer with the ultimate technology on them, and it’s portable. Cell phones
help people communicate with others wherever they are. If necessary, we can ask
someone for help anytime we want. Cell phones are information sources. With the
internet applications, we can read news from country and world sport news, interesting
Cell Phones in Education 6
facts and other. Basically we can access anything we want on the run, which is always
nice. Although cell phones we originally banned for a short period of time, now, many
families consider them and pagers basic equipment.
Although cell phones do have numerous positive affects, there are also negative
affects. Cellular phones have become a growing problem for teachers and administrators
because many students are using them for all the wrong reasons. Almost every high
school and university student has and uses a cell phone on a regular basis, even during
the academic schedule. The problem with cell phones is that they are so difficult to
monitor, at any given time a student can send a silent message to a classmate without
anyone seeing or hearing it. One can see how that during a test this could easily cause an
out brake in cheating. Students have found out ways to bring text messaging, instant
messenger, and picture text into testing environments in the hopes to get that highly
anticipated A. Before cell phones students could write brief notes on their hand, write a
select number of notes on a single piece of paper, or if they were lucky get a glimpse at
another students test. But now “camera phones can take and transmit pictures of the test
or send …messages to request or provide answers” to another student sitting across the
classroom (Fussel, 1). The advancement of technology and the intuition of students who
are using this to cheat have far surpassed the teacher’s ability to effectively control the
once founded ethical goals of students.
So how does it really work? Unfortunately there are so many scenarios that this
could be written about forever, but for the sake of argument lets use the very recent
University of Maryland scandal. Test-takers brought their cell phones to class and during
the test they would use text messaging to ask a friend outside of the class, someone who
Cell Phones in Education 7
was by a computer the questions on the test. The friend outside of the class would then
look up the answer on the Internet; and then send the text message back to the friend who
was currently taking the test. During this process not once did the teacher hear or see
them using their cell phones. But to these students own fault they were already suspected
offenders of cheating and the bogus answers posted on the teachers website matched
perfectly to those individuals test. And the reason the school knows they were sending
text is because the teacher post the answers to his exam as soon as the test are handed out.
Further more, it goes far beyond the use of having a friend near a computer, most of the
cell phones bought today have the Internet built into them. All new phones are “cheating
tools that make writing on the side of your arm seem like child’s play” (Relerford, 1).
And this is so evident because cell phones are so prominent in everyday life now, it is
estimated that over 80% of the youth today have and use cell phones. It’s scary to think
that there is a chance that almost 80% of our youth have the potential to cheat on a
Setting the cheating aspect aside there is another issue at hand, the issue of cell
phones being an interruption to ones ability to learn. Despite the select few that pay
attention and try extremely hard in school, there is a majority of students who would
prefer to socially text and chat with friends, further adding to the problem of students not
paying attention. But how does one get around the fact that “cell phones… are integral
parts of their everyday lives,” and keeping students from using them in class (Kilgore 3).
The major problem to date is the fact that most students lack the respect and control to
find the right and wrong time to use their cell phones; therefore they have become the
leading interruption in the classroom.
Cell Phones in Education 8
Cell phones have become very prominent in the coming years, and there are
positive and negative aspects. Cell phone gave applications on the phones that are good.
Text messaging is good for faster responses. Interactive games teach people
organizational skills, following rules, and task planning. Cell phones are also a way to
stay in contact at all times. Cheating with text messaging is a negative effect of cell
phones on education. The ease of sending a text message and cheating is demonstrated
with the example from the University of Maryland with the cheating students. Overall,
the positive aspects of cell phones in education outweigh the negative, so cell phones are
mostly good for education.
Cell Phones in Education 9
DiGiano, C. et al. (2003). Conceptual tools for planning for the wireless
classroom. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 19 (3) 284-297,
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2, 2002 from School issues articles <http://www.education-world.com>
Fukukawa, Shinji. (2001). The IT revolution in Japan: Past, Present and Future.
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Fussell, J. (2005). High Tech Tools Assist Today’s Student Cheaters.
Kansas City Star. December 4, 2007.
Glenn, E (2002, March 26). Number of cell phones in the US. Retrieved March 26, 2002
from the Physics fact book <http://hypertextbook.com>
Kilgore, S. (2004). Bridges from Connect Experts to Novice Learners
in 21st Century Classrooms. Rocky Mountain Review. 63
December 4, 2007. Washington State University.
Levinson, P. (2002). Cell phone: the story of the world’s most mobile
medium and how it has transformed everything. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Relerford, P. (2005). Tools to Learn- Or to Cheat. Star Tribute
Minneapolis. December 4, 2007.
Roberto, S. (2006, November 11). Benefits of using a cell phone. Retrieved November
11, 2006, from Buzzle.com articles <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/benefits-of-
Schwabe, G, and Göth, C. (2005). Mobile learning with a mobile game: design
and motivational effects. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(3)
204-216. December 4, 2007. Academic Search: EBSCO.