Lesson: Self-Assessing Student Cell Phone usage by Lisa Rubini-LaForest, @rubinilaforest, lisa.rubini-laforest@tdsb.on.ca

Timing - 20-25 minutes spread over a larger class period.

Used with: 2 grade 11 computer science classes on March 20, 2017

Part 1 - The Rubric

  • Student come in to see the cell phone rubric on the screen. (http://bit.ly/2mIKUy6). For Ontario context, I correct Level 1 to Level R and Level 2 to Level 1.
  • Students are asked to silently assess their placement on the rubric
  • Students are then asked to share with those around them.
  • Engage the class in the pro/cons of using a rubric.
  • Introduce the idea of look-fors as a means of assessing behaviour or response.
  • Introduce the look-for form (see example below) and provide an example look-for such as “I do not unplug monitors or computers to charge my phone”.
  • Each student provides one look-for. Student e-mails are corrected to encourage sincerity of answers.


  • Students were very worried that teachers would start marking cell phone usage. Rubrics = marks
  • Many students judged themselves lower on the rubric than their peers judged them.
  • Students didn’t like how rigid the rubric was and how it did meet many of the use cases they felt they used regularly.
  • Students like the idea of look-fors as a checklist of what they are doing right.
  • Students quickly created their own look-fors.
  • Some students need encouragement to move beyond cell-phone exclusive look-fors (I don’t bring my phone to class) to cell-phone inclusive look-fors (I use my phone to play Kahoot)        

Part 2 - Preparing the Self-assessment (Can be done ahead of time)

  • Open the Look-for form responses.
  • Export those responses to a Google Sheet
  • Review the look-fors responses sheet, deleting any duplicates or inappropriate answers.
  • Create a new form for self-assessment based on the look-fors
  • Create one checklist question “Check all that apply…”
  • Install the FormRanger add on.
  • Use the add-on to populate the checklist question with the look-fors entered by students. (instructions forthcoming)


  • This is a lot easier than it sounds.
  • My classes had no inappropriate answers
  • If you need to update the self-assessment form, go into the form editor, open FormRanger, and click Repopulate Questions

Part 3 - Using the Self-Assessment

  • Provide students with the self-assessment form (see example below)
  • Encourage them to provide honest answers and remind them that you are not marking their answers.

Results show:

  • Students will not turn off their phone, but do try to minimize notifications
  • Very few students would agree to never use their phones unless for academic purposes
  • Very few students would avoid bringing their phone to class
  • Students want to use their phone for school work, especially if a computer is not available.
  • Students want to check class websites and resources on their phone

Look-for Form

Self-Assessment Form