OUR VIEWS: Cell phones have no place in class

Oct 3, 2012


Not all of us agree on cell phone etiquette in public, but we’re talking cell phones in education here. The only thing cell phones can provide in the classroom is interference.

Some school professionals claim that it’s too big of a battle to prevent students from using their phones in class. We say — tough. Enforce it. Our children’s education depends on it.

These teachers and administrators use the absurd reasoning that the students can utilize their phones to look things up. We’re pretty sure that’s why there are computers in every classroom. Heck, several schools even provide their students with iPads to use in the classroom.

And don’t forget about those rectangular paper things — books. And that big room with all the shelves — oh, yeah, the library.

Distractions in the classroom should not be tolerated. We rely on the education of our children to provide them with the necessary tools to someday make decisions for and lead our communities.

It’s up to the school administrators to provide the best education possible for our students. That includes an environment that encourages learning as opposed to hindering it.

Allowing cell phones in classrooms does not benefit anyone in the long run. Parents, teachers, school administrators: help enforce the cell phone ban in our area schools.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



Don't you think the students should be taking some of the responsibility here? Should the teacher spend time and energy monitoring who has a cell phone in their lap during class instead of focusing his or her energy on the dedicated students who choose to pay attention rather than text friends and look at Facebook?


The short answers to your questions, imho, are yes and a big ole NO. I can't be the only one that thinks allowing cell phones in the classroom as a huge mistake. How long do you think it'd take the average student with a smart phone, net access and Google to get the answer to any question on any test? Times that by 30 students or so and you've just made a teachers presence pretty much worthless, reducing him/her to babysitter status. There has to be a more intelligent and responsible solution than giving up and giving in to the problem of how to deal with technological advances.


I agree with you...When I went to school they took away my calculator! We had to use our brains back then!


Rats, double-posted somehow.


I recall that era also, but be careful now, or the pro cell phone contingent will use the caculator example to make their case, that if we just harass and push hard enough and long enough they'll have to give in eventually. We probably will too, that seems to be the way things work, but I'm just not real sure what education will be once we get to that point. If everything can be learned by access to Google then what point will there be to teachers? to taking tests? to even having schools? The upside is that there won't be any need for overpriced administrators either who make these decidedly short sighted decisions so they don't have to deal with making possibly unpopular choices. I just don't think it's a good idea to do away with the current educational system and turn it over to Wikipedia. Anyone that uses that source knows that the entrys are very often filled with errors, half-truths and misinformation.


Cell phones in class? I say sure, but with limits. In this day we have multiple ways to access information. Yes, when I went to school it was through the text books that were given to me. Well, time has moved on my friends. Does that mean Kids should be allowed to play games on their phones in class, no. Access to up to date information via cell phone, tablet or laptop is a power full tool that is not going to go away, might as well embrace the benefits and start using them in everyday life. I use my phone way beyond taking calls in my professional life, this just helps prepare kids for the future. (and if you don't believe there are amazing benefits...grab your cell phone and go to www.edx.org and take a free college class from Harvard, Berkley or MIT)!


I have to ask; why are cell phones allowed in classrooms in the first place? What purpose would a cell phone serve to a student in a classroom? Don't schools have policies in place that would prohibit a student to have a cell phone in a classroom? Can't a Teacher set the rule of "No Cell Phones Allowed in their Classroom?" I really can't think of even one good reason why a student would need to bring their cell phone into a classroom. Is a cell phone a part of the Teacher's Planned Curriculum for that class? Are students allowed to hold private conversations or texts with their cell phone in that classroom while class is taking place? Why would a student think it to be necessary to have their cell phone in a classroom? Do parents think that there are any benefits for their child to bring a cell phone into their classroom? Would it be acceptable for a student to bring a camera or video into a classroom and use it while class is in session? What about a "Walkie-Talkie" to talk with your friends and family during class? Or, playing a computer board game while the Teacher is talking and trying to include every student participating and giving input about a specific topic of discussion? Unless someone has a rational common sense reason for a student to "need" to bring their cell phone into a classroom, then I think my point is "Crystal Clear." However, if someone has a different or opposing point of view, I would truly like to hear what you have to say.


Many teachers now incorporate cell phone technology into the classroom. Meet the kids where they are at and teach them WHEN and HOW to use technology. Follow UofM prof @lkolb on Twitter or go to:

for research backed data on the topic. Please don't be like the big brass of the IT world (HP, XEROX & IBM) who missed the boat totally with the PC - while Apple and Microsoft laughed all the way to the bank. Educate yourselves.


OK then. I don't believe in ANY NO TOLERANCE laws, rules, or any other circumstances, because ABSOLUTES tend to end badly. I went to your suggested websites and in my own tunnel vision I completely forgot about classes that would teach a person how to use a Cell Phone similar to when I went back to college in the mid to late 1990's I took Computer I and Computer Imaging, so Yes, there are probably classes where a Cell Phone is required. The point I was and am trying to make is for classes where there is no need for a cell phone to be used or turned on during class and where the Teacher, Professor, or Educator clearly states that Cell Phones have no place in the learning of the subject being taught and they do not want to see nor hear a Cell Phone ring in their classroom. It's interesting to watch Cell Phone behavior. Just watch people who have a Cell Phone in their hand. As soon as it's in the hand, the person turns it on, then they choose to check texts, send texts, call someone, play a game or some other APP. I can't remember ever seeing a person carrying around a Cell Phone in their hand and not using it for one reason or another. A Cell Phone that is out in plain view is so tempting for a person "to do something with it." And, out of sight out of mind, unless it calls to you with a ring or even a voice. My next article will be, "Are Cell Phones Living Things?"


I think having the phone itself in the classroom would be alright. But allowing them to be "On"
is foolishness. These are kids we're talking about, not adults. Having the phone powered up
would be to tempting for some. You know they are going to make an attempt to use it in some way.
What happens if someone forgets to turn off the ringer. Or the phone vibrates and they feel it.
Don't most think that would be a distraction to at least the owner and possibly others.
I think it's the adults that need to start taking a little more responsibility and stand up for doing what's right for kids. Instead of trying to pass off that responsibility to the kids. Expecting them to act
and perform like they are adults. They're not, they are just kids trying to learn how to become
productive responsible adults. A cell phone is not a teaching tool, it's a cell phone. Regardless of
how much information you can access with it.


These kids will be using their phones to google answers for test and when not doing that texting or on Facebook. The answer is clearly NO PHONES. They need to pay attention. Have you every tried to carry on a conversation with a kid while they are texting or screwing around with their phone? Jez, why is this a discussion!


I already brought up the point of Googling for test answers below, but thanks for the backup.


Yup, didn't see that on my small phone screen!


aha!......there's a joke there somewhere but for the life of me I can't think of it right now! :-)


Which is exactly why education needs to trend toward project based tests and leave the ridiculous yes/no multiple choice tests behind. Kids SHOULD be googling and researching for information. Developing critical thinking skills and DOING something rather than just rote memory. A good teacher will find a way to assess ALL students the way they learn and that learning should be demonstrated in more ways than one. Think outside the box please - the cell phone is an amazing tool for kids - with the right teacher..


Oh give me a break. We got along fine in my day without them(Graduated in 1970) Kids nowadays have such a low attention span as it is these days. They get distracted by absolutely nothing as it is. The majority of them are born with ADD and have it right into adulthood. Todays kids suffer from overconnectedness as it is. I say NO to cell phones in classrooms. They're supposed to be learning in classes not learning how to text. I see no advantage to cell phones in a classroom and only adds as one more distraction.


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