Political Science Education and the Profession

Cell Phones as Instructional Technology in the Civics Classroom

Diana Owen Author ORCID home | opens in new tab Georgetown University
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Chelsea Sanchez Georgetown University

Abstract

This study examines the use of cell phones for civics instruction in U.S. elementary, middle, and high schools. It employs data from an original 2019 survey of civics, social studies, and American government teachers nationwide to examine students' access to cell phone for instruction, the extent to which cell phones are used for teaching civics, the ways that cell phones are used in the civics classroom, and teachers perceptions of the effectiveness of cell phones as an instructional technology. The study raises doubts about employing cell phones as a mechanism for narrowing the gap in civic instruction between high-need and advantaged students. It points to differences in when and how cell phones are used in particular educational contexts. It reveals trends that point to a need for further empirical research on the effect of cell phones on students achievement of civic outcomes.

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