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Schools Seek Balance for Cellphones in Class

This story originally appeared in The Boston Globe.

After 20 years of teaching, Miriam Morgenstern is calling it quits this month. The Lowell High School history and ESL teacher is starting an educational nonprofit, although that’s not the only reason she’s leaving the classroom.

Another is her frustration with students and their cellphones. The texting, tweeting, and Snapchatting during class time are “an incredible distraction, and makes it much more difficult to teach,” she said. “It’s pretty hard to compete with a very funny YouTube video.”

It is the most vexing issue of the digital age for teachers and administrators: What to do about students’ cellphones? Some maintain that smartphones and other devices in schools are crucial to being competitive in a global market, while others insist that phones and tablets distract students, compromising their learning and focus...

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