Banning mobile phones at school ‘moving in the wrong direction’?

Published: January 11, 2016

Using mobile phones and other technology in schools has become a popular topic recently. Some people say that using mobile phones could benefit students, while others agree that restricting or even banning mobile phones in schools might be a good idea.
Controversial opinions surrounding this topic are usually caused by the concerns regarding the negative effects of ‘digital distraction’. It’s clear that most people would support the opinion that mobile phones and other technology can have negative effects on sleep, homework, exercising and studying. However, it is important to accept that technology is part of children’s lives. So instead of restricting or banning it, teachers and parents should look at how children are interacting with the technology and consider different ways of teaching children how to use technology in a healthy way.

It is important to remember that we are living in the digital age, so banning any kind of technology might not be the best way to go. Teachers should consider how mobile phones could be incorporated into the school curriculum to give children the skills they need to thrive in the modern world. Building mobile phones into the school curriculum enables students to learn everything from soft skills, such as learning to use the web effectively, to more specific tools, such as the latest communications and social platforms that are used in the world of work.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Professor Howard-Jones said: “Banning mobile phones and other technology in the classroom is moving in the wrong direction, an academic has said, as he warns children will keep using technology anyway.”
“I share concerns of parents about the effects of leisure technology on sleep and homework and exercise but it’s important that we don’t demonise it completely.”
Several studies have been undertaken in order to find answers whether mobile phones and other technology have a negative effect on the quality of learning. Again, the results of different studies are usually controversial. For instance, some studies prove that banning mobile phones in schools can actually improve grades, while other studies show that using technology allows students to study or to concentrate better which leads to improved results.
“Video games are powerful things for engaging children. Still, computers need to be turned off in the evening because they could be affecting the sleep, but if they are using games to learn that can be a positive thing.”
To conclude on this topic, it can be agreed that if used properly, mobile phones and other technology can help improve different aspects of learning. This means that banning mobile phones in schools, without trying to teach students how to use them in a healthy way, might not be the best solution.

Children don’t have too much tech – it’s just not being used right

Published: August 27, 2015

Government advisor Tom Bennett was recently on Good Morning Britain, discussing with the hosts the issue of school students and gadgets – 20% of whom will have over £400 worth. Bennett seemed resolutely opposed to the “creep” of technology into schools, and as an education technology provider, we’re here to fight the corner of the tablet and the laptop in the classroom.
Before we start, I do want to note that Mr Bennett isn’t entirely opposed to the idea of having tablets in classroom (and indeed his ire is focussed far more on mobile phones), and happily says that an iPad could be there if teachers have “strong reasons to use them” – additionally he’s willing to be proven wrong if in five years’ time everything turns out well. However, we rather think that Bennett’s definition of “strong reasons” might differ somewhat from ours!

As an advisor on bad behaviour, Bennett’s key objections with mobile devices seem to be how open they are to abuse, and I’ll concede this is a fair point, especially with mobile phones. Their smaller screens and boosted connectivity (with mobile broadband allowing kids around school filters) provide a less-than-ideal working environment. A tablet, however, can mitigate many of these problems, especially if provided by the school and connected to the school’s managed Wi-Fi. Distraction will always be a problem, but to assume kids will automatically get distracted just because they “can” is to do a disservice to their intelligence. If a child wants to learn, they’ll learn – why not give them the best interactive learning environments possible?
I’m particularly confused as to Bennett’s problems with a viewer whose school has gone paperless, and whose homework is now set via an app. Would he rather teachers instead deal with illegible handwriting, endless paper and cramped hands from manual marking? Setting homework and assignments online can save everyone – teachers, students and parents – time and effort – indeed according to ITV, 33% of respondents are now doing just that. Teachers can even plan out a term’s worth of work ahead of time, to be automatically assigned and even, in some cases, graded. Perhaps this can’t be the case for longer, essay-based work, but why mark a worksheet manually when you can have a VLE mark 30 of them automatically, instantly?
The problems, though, come when this tech is miss-used. We’ve got customers around the country (and indeed the world) happily tapping away on iPads and laptops, utilising their VLEs without the problems Bennett seems to think all gadgets bring. As ever, it’s important to note that none of these schools have got rid of textbooks or face-to-face learning, and this is never something we’d advocate.
Interested in finding out how you can better engage pupils using your VLE and a bring-your-own-device policy? Contact us for a free consultation at

The Mobile Learning Boom: Are You A Part Of It?

Published: July 4, 2014

When Webanywhere looks at learning trends – which will often inform the direction our products take – we look to what’s happening in America.

Often, whatever happens in the USA feeds through to the UK, and then the rest of the world, afterwards. One of the latest trends is mobile learning, something we’ve blogged about in the past here and here.

Many schools are still hesitant about adopting mobile learning, and even more so about introducing a Bring Your Own Device policy (BYOD). But a recent blog post we read on highlighted why the trend is actually booming – despite those reservations.

In fact, there are six main reasons why mobile learning, and BYOD is booming – and here they are, based on a recent annual survey completed by parents and educators in the US, called Speak Up, by Project Tomorrow.

1. School and district administrators said in the survey that tablets (41%), mobile apps (22%) and BYOD (22%) have had “a significant impact on transforming teaching and learning.”

2. Of those who completed the survey, 86% said mobile learning increases student engagement.

3. 67% said mobile learning helps each student to personalise learning.

4. Mobile learning helps students develop skills they will need when going to college and starting their career, such as problem solving (51%), teamwork and collaboration skills (47%) and strong communication skills (37%).

5. 32% of the technology administrators who completed the survey said that BYOD “helps schools address budget challenges while still giving students access to technology.”

6. In 2010, the same survey had revealed that only 22% of schools would allow learners to use their own mobile devices in school. THe latest survey, however, showed that this number had rocketed to 41% – with an additional 10% having implemented a BYOD policy. A sign of the times indeed!

If you’re thinking of trying mobile learning, or you would like help with setting up in mobile learning in your school, get in touch with us here.