Even in 1:1 laptop programs, mobile devices are still controversial in some school sites. While mobile phones offer affordances of access and personalized learning, their ultimate impact within school environments is less certain. The following studies reflect current thinking and experiences relative to mobile phone use in K-12 schools (findings for post-secondary settings are more positive). The resultant picture may surprise you; the issues raised should be seriously considered when creating school policies. The time might not be right yet for their effective use.
Allen, L. (2015). Sexual assemblages: Mobile phones/young people/school. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 36(1), 120-132.
Mobile phones at school give students agency to increase sexuality interactions.
Amplify and IESD. (2014). National survey on mobile technology for K2-12 education.
Eighty-two percent of districts are "highly interested" in launching or expanding a 1:1 technology initiative within the next two years, according to a new report. The number of districts reporting that at least one-quarter of their schools had deployed mobile devices had risen to 71 percent, up from 60 percent in 2013. Forty-four percent of districts surveyed said that approximately 75 percent of their schools had deployed mobile technology. "The most commonly expected and sought after benefits from adopting mobile technology for student instruction included their potential to increase student achievement, be engaging for students, and support personalization of instruction to meet the needs of different students."
Chen, Q. & Yan, Z. (2015). Who multi-tasks and why? Multi-tasking ability, perceived multi-tasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 34-42.
Findings showed that mobile phone multitasking is prevalent among learners, multitasking with mobile phone distracts learning via different ways and mechanisms, and that the effect of multitasking varies on different mobile phone uses, learning tasks, and learners.
Crompton, H., Burke, D., & Gregory, K. H. (2017). The use of mobile learning in PK-12 education: A systematic review. Computers & Education, 110, 51-63.
Their meta-analysis reveals that students are not using the full potential of mobile devices, especially in terms of collaborating and creating knowledge. More research is needed to find ways to incorporate these devices in more constructivist ways.
Kuznekoff, J. H., Munz, S., & Titsworth, S. (2015). Mobile phones in the classroom: Examining the effects of texting, Twitter, and message content on student learning. Communication Education, 64(3), 344-365.
This study used an experimental design to study how message content (related or unrelated to class lecture) and message creation (responding to or creating a message) impact student learning. Sending/receiving messages unrelated to class content negatively impacted learning and note-taking, while related messages did not appear to have a significant negative impact.
Philip, T. M., & Garcia, A. (2015). Schooling mobile phones: Assumptions about proximal benefits, the challenges of shifting meanings, and the politics of teaching. Educational Policy, 29(4), 676-707. https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/38372696/Philip_EP.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1537836867&Signature=u1%2BM355WsUci60eSCK1OF%2BE3xEQ%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DSchooling_Mobile_Phones_Assumptions_Abou.pdf
Adults and youth have different assumptions about mobile devices. Students with school-issued mobile devices fear liability so interact differently with them than with their own phones; the restrains on phones (i.e., limited features and blocked areas) also dampened interest. Thirdly, school-issued phones stripped their social potential, which can be part of learning. School-issued phones as a one-size-fits-all also diverts valuable funds to telecommunication companies for connectivity time. If students bring their own devices, then inequities emerge, and mobile devices are more likely than textbooks to be stolen. The authors concluded that teachers need professional knowledge, judgment and time to incorporate any technologies in contextually meaningful ways.