Classroom Technology Reports

Smartphones and Other Devices in Schools: Results of a National Survey

June 2020

In the past decade, electronics have proliferated in schools. Ranging from devices provided by the district for instructional purposes to student smartphones stashed in pockets and purses, they have simply become a fact of life. Given their ubiquitousness, it is almost inveitable that they have had some sort of impact on students and classrooms. In Feburary of 2020, the EdWeek Research Center set out to explore that impact by surveying teachers and district leaders about the uses and abuses of devices in schools. The questions explored the ways in which devices have—and have not—impacted important areas of teaching and learning such as remediation, engagement, and teacher-student relationships. They examined how teachers are using devices in the classroom for instruction. They also delved into issues related to student discipline, including devices’ impact on student distraction, disruption, off-task behavior, and cheating. Finally, the survey asked educators about the rules governing the use of the most common student-owned device—smartphones. This report provides detailed results from the survey.