This paper evaluates undergraduate students’ experience using mobile phones and a commercial application (i.e. iSurvey) to carry out a neighborhood survey. Cell phones present benefits for improving student learning and engagement. This field exercise established the opportunity for in-class debates on the practicalities of urban research, the survey information was presented for immediate analysis, and students realized they were carrying out meaningful research. The module experience supports a new research result regarding mobile devices offer significant benefits for instructors, but using mobile devices also leads to potential risks (to the students, equipment, and information) that must be taken into account while planning modules and during instruction.