Texting vs. Textbooks: The Renaissance of Technology in the Classroom


Photo by: James Schaap

Kirsten Randall, senior, texts her mom as 6th period nears it end.

With the continued integration of technology in education, many teachers are left wondering whether or not cell phones can be used for educational purposes or if they will just prove a distraction for their students.

Mr. William Dowden, US history and government teacher, as well as Cam High’s golf coach, recognizes the importance of cell phones to the students, but still restricts usage in his classes.

“I don’t like when the students use the cell phones in class, especially to text, but I realize social media and communication is important to the students,” said Dowden.

With the ever-evolving realm of the Internet, more and more information is available within just a few simple taps on a screen; however, it seems that not all students use their phones in class for educational purposes. Alex Hai, senior, admits to using his phone for entertainment during class.

“Work is super boring, and I’d rather do something fun in class, so I get more motivated to do my work later on,” said Hai.

“I’d say they probably use it more for entertainment and text messaging, but I would say sometimes for educational purposes, so I’d say it’s about 75% [entertainment]-25% [education],” said Dowden.

Mr. Chris Quinn, US history teacher, keeps clear-cut rules regarding cell phones in class.

“Unless I ask them to have it out, they can’t have it out,” said Quinn.

Most teachers at Cam High implement similar classroom rules, allowing cell phones to be used only when necessary. However, as technology integrates itself more and more into education, cell phones are becoming increasingly necessary.

For instance, the Synergy program, used by Cam High to facilitate attendance and help teachers post their grades online, is available to download as an application for both iPhone and Android users. Students often use the app to check their grades and attendance records.

“There’s some value in it at certain times, but a very low percentage. I would say a good 90-95% of the usage of cell phones in class is not necessary at that time,” said Dowden.

Even though there is a split between whether or not cellphones have any place in class, they are still widely used and abused by students and teachers must make the independent decision on whether or not to recognize any educational value in them.