Technology we need in our classrooms

In just the past two weeks, I have read about Apple’s new technology that could be used to disable iPhones from photo and video recording during concerts as well as neoprene pouches, produced by a startup called Yondr, that are already being used to lock up smartphones during concerts.

Why do we need these expensive new technologies? Becauses artists like Alicia Keys, Dave Chappelle and the Lumineers want audiences to put down their phones, see what’s right in front of them, listen and live the experience.

DJ Walton, Keys’ manager, explained to the Washington Post: “We want people to come and almost forget about their phones for a moment.”

Amen.

It’s interesting, though, isn’t it, that artists with deep pockets can force people to put away their phones for entertainment, but K-12 teachers and college professors have no similar means of disabling phones for educational purposes?

We can make rules and call parents and even confiscate phones (although that’s discouraged, for liability reasons), but there is no technology I know of that enables us to legally disable phones during a class period.

Given the growing evidence that smart phones distract students and impede learning, especially for disadvantaged students, this really should be a priority.

Enjoying a concert is great, but graduating from high school (or college) is a good goal, too. I’m hoping some ed tech entrepreneur will find a way to make this solution affordable for all of us.

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