Cell Phone Use and Abuse: The Details

Here's a sampling of details from a recent survey that asked students and faculty a variety of questions about their use of cell phones (including smart phones), their perceptions of the effects of doing so and their estimation of the effectiveness of faculty phone policies.

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Here's a sampling of details from a recent survey that asked students and faculty a variety of questions about their use of cell phones (including smart phones), their perceptions of the effects of doing so and their estimation of the effectiveness of faculty phone policies.

The 384-student sample included participants from six institutions representing 20 different majors.

The nearly 100-member faculty sample represented 11 institutions and 19 academic fields. 

Several important takeaways for teachers emerge from these details. Students need to be made aware of the significant number of studies now documenting the negative impact of cell phone use on GPA and more importantly on learning itself. This articles cites a number of these studies.

How would you rate the effectiveness of your policy at curbing cell-phone use? Is that rating based on your perceptions or have you collected data from students?

Surveys like this offer benchmark data from samples larger than most of us teach. However, these are not responses from your students. The article contains most of the questions asked and they could be used to generate data from your students. If not that, consider using some of these details as talking points for a class discussion of cell phones and there in classes. 

Reference: Berry, M. J. and Westfall, A., (2015). Dial D for distraction: The making and breaking of cell phone policies in the college classroom. College Teaching 63 (2), 62-71.