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Back to School: This Time Phone-Free!

One of the biggest challenges that students face today is the difficulty they have focusing on their studies amidst the multiple distractions of our modern world. Recent research has conclusively proven time and time again that the attention span of this current generation of students (and many of their predecessors as well) has shortened dramatically. A lot of this has to do with the fact that we have smart phones in our pocket that keep us constantly “plugged in” and connected, combined with the fact that social media has created an endless endorphin loop with many young students “hooked” on checking social media constantly to get another jolt.

Now 600 schools across America including San Lorenzo High here in the Bay Area are taking advantage of a Bay Area company’s new technology that combats this problem. It’s called Yondr and this device give schools the opportunity to “lockdown” the cell phones of students during their school day, effectively shutting down the freeway of social media distraction.

Yondr works on both iOS and Android devices. It effectively acts as a digital timer of sorts, a software-based combination lock that shuts down all nonessential functions of a smart phone the moment school starts right up until the moment it ends. During this time, the phones are kept in a pouch which they keep.

As NPR reported recently, “In teacher Joanie Decopain’s math class, all eyes are on the board as the class tackles a really long algebra problem. Kids spit out the answers rapid fire, not even waiting to be called on. Decopain says they’re more engaged, and she spends much less time repeating herself. She says there’s less pushback about the pouch policy, and some are even starting to see the virtue in it.”

Take for example one senior NPR interviewed who admits they are “…less distracted during school, and even later at home…I don’t reach for my phone as much,” Martinez says. “Because if you don’t feed into the habit, the habit eventually slows down.”

Students need to exercise zero willpower whatsoever to keep their focus on their studies.This allows them to not only focus their energy on their studies, but it’s also excellent focus training for a world that seems to be getting more connected and distracting. As for those times when students were looking at their phones, they’re now actually talking and conversing with each other.

A wonderful bottom line: schools using Yondr report a more lively school environment, less discipline problems (which were often about their phones), more collaboration, participation and better grades! Study Wizards Tutoring, an in-home tutoring company also in the business of helping raise grades, encourages parents reading this article to share with their children’s schools the good news about Yondr.