School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Richard Bragg


cell phones in the classroom, smartphone use, instructional design, educational technology


Curriculum and Instruction | Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to discover high school teachers' experiences with cell phones in the classrooms during instructional time at Quaker High School. The theory guiding this study is Jean Piaget's constructivism theory, as it argues that knowledge is produced, and meaning is formed through the experiences of one's physical or mental actions in their environment. The methodology for this dissertation includes a study design that utilizes a phenomenological study method and consists of thirteen teachers from various backgrounds and locations. The setting for the study is a high school in Pittsburgh, PA. The data collection and analysis approach includes semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, and document analysis. The data were analyzed using coding methods consisting of initial coding and NVivo coding practices. The data were searched for patterns, insights, or concepts. The approaches high school teachers use for instructing students with cell phones during teaching periods were the focus of this dissertation. Notably, the findings illuminate how cell phone usage in classrooms impacts the scope of teachers' autonomy in regulating such use and how it changes instructional methods. The research contributes to understanding how high school teachers navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by cell phones during instructional time.