Vernier Science Education - June  2024


Forums / Physical Science / Smartphones in the Classroom

Physical Science

Smartphones in the Classroom

Author Post
Sten Odenwald Sten Odenwald 90 Points

Through the NASA Space Science Education Consortium, I have been exploring how smartphone sensors (magnetism, sound, acceleration etc) can be used to gather on the spot data using freely available apps. A number of peer-reviewed papers have resulted from this research. I would like to know if any teachers have used smartphone sensors to log data and use it under classroom conditions to engage students in taking real-time data as part of a specific curriculum activity. Attached is a draft of a paper I have been working on to explain my approach.


Aaron Rothfusz Aaron Rothfusz 160 Points


I love that you are using the attachment that students have with their cellphones to better enhance their learning environment when it comes to STEM. However, one of my concerns with this idea is that students, especially with secondary students, would be tempted to be distracted with social media, games, and other platforms on their phones. If you are able to provide them take to gather on the spot data, how would you ensure that students would stay on task and not veer off on a tangent? Thank you for sharing!

Ximena Chavez Ximena Chavez 410 Points


I think it's really great that you want to include the use of smartphones in your lesson being that students usually have smartphones with them at all times. In my own experience as a student, teachers and professors have used smartphones and apps in order to collect data from the class for a lesson and I have enjoyed participating in lessons using these platofrms. Some specific platforms I've used are Google Forms and Survey Monkey. They're both really good tools to collect data from a class and they also tend to keep students interested in the lesson. 


Rachel Schermerhorn Rachel Schermerhorn 275 Points

I think this is really interesting, I am an elementary education major and I know that students often use smartphones or tablets to integrate surveys and technology into basic lesson plans using things like Kahoot and other smartphone apps that use the same idea. In my experience students know that having technology is a privilege and if the temptation of going on other apps becomes too much then that privilege is taken away. 

Justen Hug Justen Hug 505 Points

Hey Rachel,

I agree with you, I believe utilizing smartphones or Ipads can be a great resource to do various lessons. There are many apps that allow teachers to be creative to accomplish various different standards. 

Sten Odenwald Sten Odenwald 90 Points

Thanks for your good point Aaron. I hadn't really thought that far ahead with this specific concept. I suspect it is a general problem faced even by the use of iPads and the solution to the problem is probably similar.

If any of you would like to test out this idea in a real classroom setting i would be delighted to work with you!   Just email me at [email protected]


Brandon Kunk Brandon Kunk 165 Points


I really like the idea that you have about using the most out of the resources in a classroom. Let's be honest, almost every junior high student has a smartphone at this point. Using the tools that these smartphones have available seems like a no brainer to me! The only thing that you have to really be strict about it how the phones are used. Cell phones are seen as something that doesn't belong in schools, so making sure students use these responsibly will be important. Also, is seems that cell phones have many capabilities that you talked about that I didn't even know were possible. These things are so smart and I think it is a great idea to responsibly use these in the classroom. The more tools the better results and the more learned right?!



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