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.

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.

Head Teacher Of The Week: Jo Corrigan, Eastlands Primary School

Published: April 21, 2014

This week, we head over to Rugby in the West Midlands for our Head Teacher of the Week. Jo Corrigan (back, far left in our picture, with Year 6 children celebrating winning the Rotary Young Citizen of the Year Award at the BBC),  regularly receives comments about how good Eastlands Primary School’s website is. So, we’ve picked her brain about technology, Ofsted in schools and what it takes to be a great teacher…

Why did you choose to become a Headteacher?
As a child I never spoke about being a teacher but being a headteacher.  I have been inspired by my own teachers and realised it was such a privilege position to be in.

How important is technology in improving learning outcomes?

The children we currently teach have grown up with a wide range of technology and I am sure new technologies will emerge in the future which they will require in the career paths they choose.

What are you tips for preparing for Ofsted?

Clearly being prepared for Ofsted is very important and there is lots of documentation provided to support this. However, as a school we have never done things just to satisfy Ofsted. We believe in providing a high quality education for our children and are always looking to improve.

How do you motivate your staff?

By proving to them that the outcomes for the children make all of the hard work worthwhile.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement to date is getting through an extremely challenging first year as a headteacher and receiving external validation that I had made a positive impact on the outcomes for the children at my school. This enables me to focus on the creation of exciting teaching and learning resources for e-safety with a group of children in my school which have received national and intonation all awards.

What do you think makes a great teacher?

A great teacher understands that children only get one chance at education and that a great deal of trust is put in their professionalism to get it right.
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
Keeping up with the amount of changes taking place and the short timescale provided to implement them.

Head Teacher Of The Week: Roy Hepplestone, Whitehill Community Academy

Category: Breaking News

Published: April 7, 2014

This week, we are introducing a brand new weekly blog post: Head Teacher of the Week. Each Monday, we’ll profile a head teacher from an influential primary school, finding out their knowledge, experiences and passing on their tips for others. Our first Head Teacher of the Week is Roy Hepplestone, of Whitehill Community Academy, Halifax, West Yorkshire.

“Being a head teacher is the best job in the world,” says Whitehill Academy’s Roy Hepplestone (pictured above). With 19 years’ experience, Roy is suitably qualified to make such a judgement.
It’s this passion for the job and his commitment to Whitehill Academy that has made the school not just a teaching school, but winner of the Investor In People Gold award this year. “Relationships are key,” says Roy. “We are a very supportive team. The Whitehill ethos and team spirit has seen us through the hard times.”
The ‘can do’ culture is also important at Whitehill, and it has helped them become an over-subscribed school. Enjoying the support of the local community, Roy says making a difference to children’s lives is what makes it all worthwhile. “Commitment, drive and knowing the children is what makes a great teacher,” says Roy.

When it comes to technology, Whitehill is one of the most forward-thinking establishments we’ve ever worked with. “Technology is a vital tool to ensure that schools, academies and organisations run effectively. We have always placed ICT as a major driver within the curriculum and also throughout the Whitehill Academy MAT,” comments Roy.
Finally, Roy believes a good leader needs to be able to listen, build effective teams, be a good communicator, develop relationships, nurture talent and take risks. “Stay at the forefront of new developments, communicate early, always aim high… And enjoy!” he says. From a head teacher who’s seen his school gain an Outstanding Ofsted, and become an Academy, a National Leader and achieve Teaching School status, this is sound advice.
Find out more about Whitehill Community Academy here.