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How to Leverage Mobile Phones in Classrooms

Randy RayessRandy Rayess

Ever since the mobile phone started reaching young hands, most educators think that the wandering minds of a typical tween cannot handle its distraction. However, there is an increasing number of people who believe that cell phones can help the teaching process along considerably.

Lisa Nielsen, co-author of Teaching Generation Text: Using Cellphones to Enhance Learning says, “We think a school should be preparing students for real life—and in real life, people use cell phones. If you’re making an artificial world inside the school, you’re not preparing them for reality.”

On that note, here are some ways in which classrooms can leverage mobile phones to make learning more immersive and innovative:

Flipped Classrooms & Pre-recorded Lectures

More and more teachers have taken to recording audio and video versions of their lectures that students can listen to outside the class. Innovatively named ‘flipped classrooms’, it helps students to revise a lesson on the ride home or before they go to sleep at night.

Delivering Homework on Time

One of the most cumbersome tasks on a teacher’s to-do list is getting the students to submit their assignments on time. Now, with apps like Remind101, it’s easy to keep students on top of their work by sending them notifications whenever their assignment is due. In fact, parents have also started signing up on the app to help with the process and stay updated. Teachers who implemented the app have found that more students were doing their homework and reporting back in classrooms because they no longer forgot about it.

Take Polls & Surveys

Collecting data helps a great deal in improving classrooms. Teachers can rely on information to make lesson plans and identify students who may be lagging behind. There are even apps like that can instantly turn a classroom into active polling groups. lets teachers create multiple-choice questions or surveys that students can respond to in using their smartphones. The results are compiled and displayed to the class almost immediately, giving teachers real-time feedback on how well students have mastered the content.

Review and Assessment

Cell phones can also help teachers grade assignments easily. Take for instance Castle Learning, an online software that reviews, assesses, and creates reports for educators and generates quizzes for students. A host of security features also prevents students from cheating. The system also analyses subjects or skills that students might be having a difficult time with, helping teachers identify areas they should pay attention to.

Automate Exit Tickets

A lot of schools expect students to submit exit tickets, small assessments that are conducted at the end of the lesson. These help teachers understand how much their students learned during the class. The process can now be automated, and students can make submissions using their cell phones with apps like Exit Ticket. Teachers can then check the responses on their smartphone or computer.

Make Lessons Innovative

The New Youth City Learning Network in NYC believes in ‘Anytime-anywhere-anyhow learning and, therefore, makes the best use of mobile devices for this purpose. In one particular experiment at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, children used their smartphones to test the air for particulate matter, carbon monoxide and noise pollution and measure contaminants from particular vans and idling buses. This trial is an excellent example of a fun activity at school that will leave a lasting learning impact on the students’ mind.


It cannot be ignored that students will continue to gain access to cell phones, and despite the strictest of regulations, they WILL bring it to school. The faster educational institutions acknowledge and adapt to the trend, the sooner they can get down to using mobile phones to their advantage.

CoFounder at VenturePact Passionate about software, marketplace startups & remote work. Previously at SilverLake Partners, Ampush and Wharton.