Kids are starting to get their first cellphones at younger and younger ages. Not only are they now all in possession of the latest technology, but they are addicted to it, to the point where teachers and schools are starting to have to take some creative measures to combat cellphone use in the classroom.
If you were to ask any current grade school, high school, or post-secondary teacher, cellphones are having a damning effect on the education of our youth. They spend more time starring at those screens than they do paying attention to what is being taught that teachers find themselves repeating themselves more times than not.
"You can see that they're not listening to you," says history teacher Tony Patelis, at Newton North High School in Massachusetts. "They're looking down, and they tell me they're checking the time, even though the clock is on the wall."
Teachers have been trying to figure out how to combat this classroom epidemic, and thanks to Yondr, a company started by Graham Dugoni, four years ago, the teachers now have the "weapon" needed to win the war against technology.
Yondr has designed and built phone sized pouches made from soft material than can be locked up in much the same way that clothing is secured in retail stores. It means that once a phone is placed in one of these bags, students cannot get them out without a magnetic key. It may seem draconian, but apparently this strategy is working, even if the students aren't happy about it.
At the City on a Hill Circuit Street charter school in Boston, they have set up a system where students must put their phones in one of these pouches when they first enter the building, and they can't get them back out until the end of the day. Students are allowed to keep their phones (in the pouches) on them as they go about their day, but they are completely incapable of actually using them during that time.
Is it really necessary though?
Even though the plan is for the benefit of the students, they are still not happy about it at all. "It's aggravating," says sophomore student Tyler Martin. "It's just like your toy and they take it from you and you can't use it."
"This is a college prep school," says another student Rijkaard Trenteetun. "We should have responsibility ... to take care of ourselves. And if you want to use [your phone in class,] use it, but at the end of the day you're going to have the bad grade."
The school's principal, DeOtis Williams Jr., has been blasted with complaints from students, and he understands their frustrations. Regardless of how the students feel about it at this point, he plans on continuing with using the pouches in order to get students to pay more attention.
"Like my mom always used to tell me, 'Kids know what they want but not what they need.' We know what the students need," he says. "They need to be present in the moment and to make healthy choices."
Here is how the pouches work.
Do you think schools need to be taking such drastic measures as locking up student's cellphones in order to ensure they actually pay attention in class?