The Department of Education in the UK is carrying out a study to determine whether pupils’ smartphones should be banned from the classroom. Around a third of schools in Britain currently operate a ban with many claiming that it has resulted in vastly improved behaviour as well as better exam results.
Tom Bennett, a teacher and behaviour expert is leading the study and was quoted in the UK’s Sunday Times recently saying the widespread adoption of tablets was having unhelpful effects in some schools, with pupils misusing them “to surf the net, find photos of Kim Kardashian and Jessie J and hurl online insults at each other”.
A study by the London School of Economics in May found that banning mobile phones from classrooms could benefit students’ learning by as much as an extra week of classes over an academic year, benefiting low-achieving children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds the most.
Bennett, who is director of the researchEd project, said: “Technology is transforming society and even classrooms – but all too often we hear of lessons being disrupted by the temptation of the smartphone. Learning is hard work and children are all too aware of this. So when they have a smartphone in their pocket that offers instant entertainment and reward, they can be easily distracted from their work.
“This is a 21st-century problem and the majority of schools are dealing with it effectively. But I will now probe deeper into this issue, and behaviour challenges more broadly, to uncover the real extent of the problem and see what we can do to ensure all children focus on their learning.”