Nearly 45 percent of American kids ages 10–12 years old have their own personal cell phone with a service plan. Meanwhile, 73 percent of teenagers can say the same. It’s no wonder smartphones have completely changed our classrooms. In fact, research has shown that over 90 percent of students admit to using their cell phones for non-learning purposes during class time.
In order to respond to this crisis, teachers are brainstorming clever ways to make sure their students are not distracted by their smartphones. To that end, a high school teacher in Spokane, Washington, recently made the news when he bought a cell phone cubby on Amazon and asked his students to store their phones inside of it during class.
“My overall goal was to give kids an opportunity to engage in what they’re doing,” said Michael Lee, a teacher at Lewis and Clark High School. “And that’s hard to do when every few seconds or few minutes there’s a beep on your phone and you have to check what it is. I just needed to do something different.”
Surprisingly, Lee says his students have taken quite easily to the cell phone cubby, and store their devices away without any fuss.
“No one has said to me, ‘Mr. Lee, can I please not lock up my phone?'” says the teacher. “They’ll just walk in, lock it up. They get to work, and that’s exactly the intention of it.”
Other teachers have taken similar approaches in the past, such as having students store their cell phones in paper bags or in shoe racks. But the ingenuity of Mr. Lee’s idea is that it empowers students to put their phones away on their own. And the safety of the lockers helps to reassure them that their phones will be safe and away from prying eyes or teachers’ surveillance during class.
But cell phone lockers can be expensive, so let’s hope Mr. Lee was reimbursed for his purchase!
We already know that teachers have to spend so much out-of-pocket just to keep their classrooms stocked with needed supplies for learning. Teachers spend between $200 to $2,000 each school year buying items for their students, and this is money that is rarely if ever returned to them.
What do you think? Do you have any clever ways to keep kids off their phones during class?