Smartphones at school - opportunity or threat?

The smartphone is used in almost all areas of daily life, except school. Although most children and youths aged 9-17 years use their smartphone every day, few are able to recall interesting lessons using new technologies. Considering this fact, it is not surprising that students have a low appreciation of their digital competences and that their smartphone is mainly used for entertainment. In order to find a solution to this problem, the Educational Research Institute has developed a project called "Smartphones at school. Setting the rules of the game".

According to the research of the Cities on Internet Association, 60% of schools have a ban in their statutes on using mobile phones during lessons. This is supposed to help students focus on learning, to detach them from constantly "being online" in social media. But perhaps this problem needs to be approached from another angle. Perhaps mobile technologies should be integrated into the educational process in order to teach children and youth how to better use smartphones – i.e. safely and in a more "healthy" way? We want to discuss this with parents, teachers and students and look for positive solutions, especially bearing in mind that parents often do not have sufficient knowledge to teach their children how to use the latest technologies properly – says Dr Piotr Stankiewicz, Director of the Educational Research Institute and an expert in digital education.

The way in which schools regulate the use of mobile devices by students is also important. It is rare that students are allowed to use a smartphones in school for learning – as a tool for accessing educational resources, a source of knowledge, enabling information to be compared and analysed, facilitating cooperation with other students and teachers.

Smartphones at school? Let's set the rules of the game!

Seeing, on the one hand, the potential of smartphones in education, and on the other, the fears of schools about this, the Educational Research Institute proposed a project with research and implementation components. Its aim is to create a space for various groups from the school community to meet to discuss the barriers and solutions for the educational use of smartphones, and then implement the developed solutions in several selected schools.

As of the beginning of 2020, the Educational Research Institute is conducting a series of debates and workshops. Representatives of the school community from three primary schools – directors, teachers, parents and students – have been invited to join the project. The first workshops with students will be held at the end of January, meetings with teachers are planned for February. The role of smartphones in school will be discussed with experts in the field of educational research and digital technologies (Digital Poland Project Centre – CPPC), as well as representatives of technology companies (e.g. Orange Foundation, IBM, Samsung, Microsoft), local governments, NGOs (e.g. City on Internet Association, Digital Centre Foundation) and the media.

The developed recommendations, strategies and proposals for technological solutions are then to be implemented in several selected primary schools. All these activities are not only aimed at making lessons more attractive. They are intended to lead to a permanent change in the learning model: because they will now be able to use their own smartphone, students will become more active, curious about the world, cooperate better and take responsibility for their own learning, both at the stage of school education and later – throughout life.

More information about the project is available on the website: