13 Surprising Pros of Cell Phones in School

From real-world training to emergency connectedness, there are some very real benefits of phones in schools.

Updated May 17, 2024
Teen girl school student using smartphone in classroom

Even though much of the public debate is against it, there are pros associated with allowing cell phones in school. No matter where you come down on the issue, these advantages shouldn't be ignored.

Cell phones in schools can actually add value to the educational experience rather than simply be a detriment to it. From their handiness in emergencies to their help in keeping kids organized, there are a lot of benefits to having phones in school.

Offers Instant Communication in Emergencies (or Anytime)

Although you hope that you will never have to do this, you sometimes need to get in contact with your school-aged child while they're in class. This could be because of a death in the family, an accident, or other family emergency that may require their attention or attendance.

  • By being able to text or call your child directly, you also help alleviate the workload of the school's administrative team.
  • Phones are also super useful during recess and lunch hours when students aren't in class and may be difficult to find.
  • Parents can also reduce the problem of knowing where kids are after school when they have the ability to call or text them and vice versa.
  • Text messages can make communicating easy and discreet. Parents and kids can keep each other updated throughout the day.

Works a as Cost-Effective Learning Aid

Students who have a phone can use handy applications to actually help with homework and schoolwork. These apps are designed for students to assist in learning. Similar to the programs found on a laptop or desktop computer, they can reinforce important skills. Being able to look up facts quickly on the internet is also handy on phones.

If a student needs assistance with classwork and doesn't have access to a computer, they can use a phone in a snap. In fact, the National Education Association reports that smartphones can often be cost-effective for schools that can't afford to purchase technology for all students.

Quick Tip

Having a phone at school can also help kids do their homework after school. On the bus, kids can use the internet to work on homework, but with a phone, they can set up a mobile hotspot for their Chromebooks or just look things up as needed. This lets them stay ahead of the game with work and get that much-needed chill time when they get home.

Handy as a Studying and Memory Aid

Cell phones can be beneficial to students when reviewing and studying for exams or tests. Using a phone camera, kids can take pictures in class. This is great for science class, for example, where they may be exposed to certain creatures, plants, and other things that they probably won't encounter anywhere else. This is much more effective than simply producing a quick sketch.

Teenager talks on smartphone with teacher about doing robots arm

Pictures can also be useful to:

Reviewing photos or videos later can help students better understand the procedure in metalwork, woodwork, or other hands-on courses.

Useful for Calendar and Task List

Nearly every mobile phone has a built-in calendar function, and this can be very useful for kids who have a hard time remembering test dates, assignment due dates, and other such details where time is of the essence. By putting these in a cell phone organizer and assigning an alarm, they'll never forget again! After all, paper-based agendas and notebooks can be easily lost, forgotten, overlooked, or scribbled over.

The organization doesn't stop there, either. Kids can use the Notes app or other similar note-taking programs to make a simple task list or jot down reminders about things they need to do. Think of the phone as a one-stop organization shop.

Helpful for Note-Taking With Voice Notes

Cell phones' voice recording feature can be beneficial to students who would like a quick way to keep track of what they need to do. After all, students may not always have immediate access to a notepad, so using a cell phone to "jot down" important information can be helpful. There are numerous voice memo apps that can be useful for both teachers and students in a classroom.

Quick Tip

Voice recording can even help make classroom instruction more accessible to students who learn in different ways. After all, not everyone learns by writing notes or reading textbooks. Some kids benefit from being able to listen to a lecture or lesson several times to really understand it.

Adds Peace of Mind With Phone GPS Tracking

GPS tracking can be a benefit of cell phones to parents who want to be able to keep tabs on their kids' whereabouts. Using GPS to track a cell phone can provide peace of mind to concerned parents and teachers if a student is reported missing or has gone somewhere of concern. GPS tracking can also inform parents that their children have arrived to and from school safely.

Useful for Storing Emergency Contact Information

Important phone numbers can be easily stored in cell phones. For students, this can be important in case they become sick while at school or are in an emergency situation. Their cell phone can contain important numbers such as their parents' work, doctor's office, dentist, and who to call in case of an emergency, as well as numbers of close family members and friends.

Quick Tip

That contact info isn't only useful in emergencies, either. Kids can form social connections with peers and keep track of other kids' numbers and contact info with a phone (it's right there, so it's easy to add a phone number for that new kid in class). Then they can reach out after school to build those bonds of friendship.

Fosters Classroom Collaboration

Cell phones can assist in providing a modern alternative to standard teaching and can encourage student participation. For example:

  • The website platform Poll Everywhere lets teachers create poll questions to which students can respond via their cell phones.
  • Students can also use cell phones to collaborate with each other and also to connect with kids in other schools or geographic areas.
  • Phones can also connect students to specialists in specific subjects for assistance or advice.
Pre-adolescent kids using cell phone in classroom

Offer Training for Modern Living

Cell phones have unquestionably become fixtures in everyday life for most adults. In fact, 89% of students between ages 13 and 17 use mobile devices regularly. Cell phones will not only be a part of their everyday lives now and in the future but will also be important in many careers. Knowing how to use mobile devices effectively is an important skill to have in modern society. Incorporating mobile technology in the classroom is key to preparing students for the future.

Related: 62 Things to Talk About on the Phone

Provides a Classroom Research Tool

Smartphones are equipped with calculators, a plethora of apps, the internet, and research tools. Showing students how to use their smartphones to seek out information and educate themselves is a great lesson to promote. Students are using social networks to find answers to questions that they don't understand or know. If students and teachers collaborate and collectively seek out concepts that are confusing, using cell phones to do so can be an incredibly powerful tool that expands teacher's lesson plans for the better.

Quick Tip

Phones also offer a great way for kids to learn about critical thinking. They can be a hands-on way to teach about avoiding scams, identifying questionable sources of information, and how to use the web safely.

Promotes Student Independence

Enabling students to use their phones in the classroom inherently develops trust between the students and their teacher. Although phones can cause distraction, creating highly engaging lesson plans where the students are actively using their phones to find answers can be a great way to promote healthy cell phone usage for the purpose of learning.

Fosters Trust Between Students and Teachers

Teachers who allow students to use their cellphones in class must be able to trust that their students are participating appropriately. To do so, it's important to introduce engaging content and monitor cell phone usage. This creates a great opportunity for teachers to model healthy cell phone usage for their students. This means that the teacher and students work together while using their cell phones during the lesson plan and disengage from using their phones when not appropriate.

Creates More Inclusive Learning Environment

For students who learn and/or communicate differently, using their cell phone as a learning and communicating aid can make a world of difference. Allowing cell phones in the classroom opens up the door for many students who are differently abled to be able to participate and thrive in the classroom setting, where they would otherwise have difficulty.

Remember to Weigh Both Sides

Bringing a phone to school can have both positive and negative consequences. Many schools have set rules in place regarding cell phones and whether they're allowed in the school or classroom. Parents can decide whether their child should bring a phone to school — as long as it is not against the rules — and set appropriate guidelines regarding the use of the phone. Like any tool, a phone in school is all about how you use it.

Trending on LoveToKnow
13 Surprising Pros of Cell Phones in School