Policies differ when it comes to phones in class

Story by Mia Wang

Cell phones are everywhere and have undeniably become an integral part of everyday life. And, of course, schools question the benefits of having a cell phone in class, particularly when they can be a distraction from instruction. Should cell phones be allowed at school? Can they have an instructional purpose in the classroom?

Some students are against phone usage in classes. Daniel Milligan, 19, from Winterset and majoring in ITNA at DMACC, said, “I think it’s not that big of a deal if students only use their phones during break, because I got distracted easily, so I prefer the person sitting next to me in classes putting his or her phone away during lecture time.” As the “class policy” makers, some professors also have their opinions. Lynn LaGrone, an English professor at DMACC said, “I don’t allow cell phones in my classes, they are too distracting for students and irritating for me.”

On the other hand, there are also students who think phone usage can actually benefit the classes. Caroline Hunkele, 19, majoring in Pre-Dental Hygiene, said, “I think banning phones will make students want to look at phones. In one of my classes a professor asked a question, and nobody knew the answer, so he asked us to look it up online using our phones to try to find the answers.”

Students are not the only group that approves phones in classes. Maria Cochran, English and Humanities teacher at DMACC, said, “I respect my students as grown-ups, I don’t take their phones because they are not in middle school or high school anymore. They only need a little time to reply a text. If they use their phone too often, I’ll go talk to them privately after class.”

As far as the thought process students have when they use their phones, Amy Christy, 20, from Ames and majoring in Accounting at ISU, said, “Whenever I use my phone in classes, I usually hide from the professors and hope they don’t see me. ”

Christy’s behavior seems pretty common, because students know they are not supposed to take the phone out during a lecture, but they sometimes cannot resist the temptation of relying a text or checking their social media. So they just hide under the table or between their legs.

On the professor’s side, Kate Burrell, Psychology professor at DMACC, said, “When I notice a student is on the phone, I get a little irritated. Because I cannot help but think maybe my class content is too boring for them and they need to keep themselves entertained by using the phone.”

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