Keeping mobiles out of the classroom has been a battle for the past few years but recently it seems to have become worse than ever.

We live in a world where mobile phones appear to be an extension of our arms and every few minutes, we feel the urge to consult our screens in case we have missed something important.

But what effect is this addiction having on students both in class and outside, and how is it impacting on their concentration skills and learning?

If used correctly, mobile phones can be a great tool for students to find information online, improve their IT skills and keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the world around them. They can also be useful for whole-class activities or “gamification”, such as Kahoot or for sending work to teachers and finding out what homework they have to do.

However, more often than not, youngsters don’t have the skills to manage their time and even the most attentive student will find it difficult to avoid being distracted by the chime, ring or vibration of an incoming text message.

It is important to educate students about how to control their mobile use, give them tips, like leaving the mobile in a different room while studying at home or not having them next to their bed when sleeping. However, most students bring a mobile to school with them and in class they can easily lose the thread of the lesson if they take out their mobile “just to check the time”, which seems to be the most common excuse when a student is caught with their mobile in their hand.

For better or for worse, it would seem we have to accept that mobiles are here to stay and perhaps, rather than seeing them as something to be forbidden we should allow them to be used in the playground during breaktime or even look for ways to include them in our teaching, as a way of satisfying the students’ need for their mobile. However, this would require some sort of pact between students and teachers so that mobiles are only used at specific times and with much focus on their sensible use.

By Ana from Spain