Classroom behaviour management and technology

Technology integration in education can be seen as a challenge with the key argument being disruptions or seen as an opportunity for improved teaching and learning. Technology is brought into teaching with good intentions but like anything else, it encounters unwanted side effects such as distraction and interruption in the classroom (Fang, 2009).

Mobile phones, for example, are considered distracting because of issues with ringing in class, cheating or multitasking on irrelevant websites and the camera on many phones can raise privacy issues as well (Campbell, 2006). Seemingly, mobile phone intrusions in classrooms is a less appropriate place compared to other places because of the process  of experience during class. For example, the experience of being on public transport is usually not as critical as arriving at the destination. The experience of being in a classroom is different however (Campbell, 2006). Like the bus, the classroom offers a vital purpose – ideally, to learn something. Nevertheless, the experience of being in the classroom is much more influential on the ultimate purpose compared to settings like the bus (Campbell, 2006). Learning is heavily mediated through the experience of being in the classroom. If that experience is disturbed by a mobile phone distraction, it is more costly than in the case with commuting on the bus. In addition, the position of both class and teacher can be threatened by mobile use and ringing, particularly if it is rattling against a hard surface such as a desk (Campbell, 2006).

Mobile phones and other digital devices have increasingly become commodity products and easily available and are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Banning mobile devices in classrooms is a temporary solution that is unsustainable (Johnson, 2012). As devices gets smaller and more affordable, students will find ways of using it (Johnson, 2012). Although mobile devices are being blamed for itself distractions in classrooms, it could provide opportunities for change in the classroom. With many of the world’s best educators sharing their video lectures through educational portals and platforms such as YouTube EDU and Schoology (Fang, 2009). Such platforms can transform classrooms into an interactive environment. These devices can also be integrated into flipped classroom strategy with students using it outside class to engage in contents and teachers using class time to engage students with hands-on activities which will allow students to apply their knowledge.

Instead of mobile devices being seen as “toys” for students to play with, it can become students’ study buddies in class and beyond. Teacher’s should therefore compete for that learning space in a student’s hand. Instead of banning mobile devices or just tolerating them, teachers can use such devices as tools to engage students’ minds (Fang, 2009).



Campbell, S. (2006). Perceptions of Mobile Phones in College Classrooms: Ringing, Cheating and Classroom Policies. Communication Education, 55(3), 280-294.

Fang, B. (2009). From Distraction to Engagement: Wireless Devices in the Classroom. Retrieved 9 January 2018, from

Johnson, D. (2012). The classroom teacher’s technology survival guide. Retrieved from


3 thoughts on “Classroom behaviour management and technology

  1. I agree instead of trying to ban the use of the mobile phone in the classroom – use them to the engage the student in learning. There are so many apps available that can help the student with their learning. If mobile phones were on display and actively used in the classroom then students may focus more on the lesson instead of trying to discretely use their phone when they are not supposed to.


  2. The use of mobile phones in the classroom is a difficult one. I personally allow mobile phones quite a lot in my science classroom, for the photographing of science experiments and videoing of experiments and production of videos about certain curriculum topics. With any form of ICT, whether computer, iPad or phone, the teacher needs to be diligent in monitoring but lets face it, even the best teachers cannot have eyes everywhere all the time. I have actually found that the more I allow my students to use them, the less issues there are – because its not a “big deal” to use them, it has become the norm and why bother being rebellious. School software to monitor ICT use as well as banning certain downloading and social networking sites certainly helps. There are so many wonderful uses and apps on the phone to enhance engagement.



  3. Hi Meg,
    I couldn’t agree more. As teachers we are constantly battling for attention with mobile devices, many schools ban them, and they are a source of never ending behaviour management. I am at a BYOD school, and when we say BYOD – we mean a designated, laptop device, and constantly battle the hand held device, which seems in complete opposition of what I should be doing! Students love communicating in this way, so why not give them an option to do so? I have been investigating ways to use Snapchat in the classroom and found this great article of how a professor does it in a university context –
    I know I adore using my device, so will be trying new ways to use it with my students this year!
    Great work on the blog!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s