1. ITV Report

Is the mobile phone really a menace in schools, or can it be a learning device?

In the vast majority of schools, the mobile phone is seen as a menace and banned from the classroom, but academics in the Midlands believe it can be a positive learning tool.

A class at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I college in Leicester using mobile phones as part of their lesson Credit: ITV News Central

Most schools allow pupils to bring their phones to school but require them to be turned off and kept tucked away in bags during lessons. Staff find mobiles disruptive in class and say they can also encourage cyberbullying.

The West Bridgford School in Nottinghamshire operates a "zero tolerance" policy on mobiles. Pupils up to the age of 16 are banned from even bringing them to school. Headteacher Ray McDonough says there is no need for parents to contact their children on their way to and from school as nearly all students live close by. He has also had an instance of mobile phone footage of a partially-dressed girl in a changing room being put on the internet.

University experts believe phones in class are beneficial Credit: ITV News Central

However, experts at the University of Nottingham say mobile technology has a valuable place in the classroom. Psychology lecturer, Dr Nadja Heym, and a colleague, carried out research in a number of schools in which they introduced handsets into lessons. Dr Heym says students enjoyed using phones as an education tool, for example, as a stopwatch to time scientific experiments and to make short movies. She believes mobile phones will be used routinely in schools within ten years.

Mobile phones in class could become more widespread Credit: ITV News Central

Business and economics A-level students at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester already use mobile phones in lessons. Teacher Thea Demetriou sets tests for them using a special application downloaded onto their handsets. Students also use their smartphones to do internet research on stories in the business world.