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Study: Banning Phone Use May Increase Student Performance

Study Reveals Banning Mobile Phone Use May Increase Student Performance in Low Achievers

Before educational technology became a staple in the modern day classroom, cell phones were typically strictly banned from the classroom because they were seen as distractions. Now, as EdTech continues to grow and thrive, some educators see and use cell phones as teaching tools, but some still think they remain a distraction and little else.

Two professors conducted a study that revealed that considering phones to be gateways to distraction might be right. Though the study took into account mobile phone bans in England, the authors said the study's "results are likely to be significant even here in the US, where 73 percent of teenagers own a mobile phone" compared to the 90.3 percent of UK teens that do.

According to Richard Murphy and Louis-Philippe Beland's study, "[a]fter schools banned mobile phones, test scores of students aged 16 increased by 6.4% of a standard deviation, which means that it added the equivalent of five days to the school year."

In other words, banning mobile phones increased student tests scores and overall resulted in less distraction. Additionally, the study found the results to be in the lowest achievers, while the highest achievers saw no impact on performance at all.

"The gains observed amongst students with lowest achievement when phones were banned were double those recorded among average students. Our results also indicate the ban having a greater impact on special education needs students and those eligible for free school meals," the authors said in an article on TheConversation.com.

Though the authors said their findings "do not discount the possibility that mobile phones and other forms of technology could be useful in schools if their use is properly structured," they suggest that educators use these findings to consider restricting mobile use for the benefit of all students in the classroom.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/13/2015

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