Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


The excitement and interest in innovative technologies has spanned centuries. However, the invention of the cellular phone has surpassed previous technology interests, and changed the way we communicate today. Teens make up the fastest growing market of current cellular phone users. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to determine teen perceptions of cellular phones as a communication tool by Midwest suburban middle students.

Foundational to the study was the "Evolution of Educational Technology" as a historical perspective of technological change, and how new technologies influence society, change communication, and influence how we learn (Saettler, 2004). The "Technology Adoption and Diffusion" model by Rogers (1995) served to help the researcher understand a person's natural resistance to technological change and technology adoption before it is accepted and diffused to the majority of users.

Qualitative data were collected through a middle school located in a Midwestern suburb, teen focus groups, and open-ended survey questions. A Teen Cellular Phone survey was also used to acquire measurable data.

Findings revealed a majority of middle school teens own cellular phones. Findings revealed differences in access to technology between White students, and female Students of Color. Results suggest differences in how cellular phones are used between ethnic groups, and how cellular phones are used to communicate between males and females. Results reveal cellular phones created some distractions for middle school teens in the study, yet data suggest a desire to use cellular phones in positive ways, such as a learning tool in school. These findings have implications and recommendations for teens, parents, and schools to manage the transformation of the cellular phone phenomenon for today's 21st Century learners.