France To Ban Mobile Phones In School


By the Flying Dutchman,
December 12th, 2017


[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” disable_bgshading=”off” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]Just as we have become a Bring Your Own Device School that puts much emphasis on the use of devices in school, France is reacting differently to the increasing use of computers and phones in class. The French are banning them.
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On Sunday, France’s education minister announced that mobile phones will be banned from primary, junior, and middle schools, calling it a matter of “public health.” While phones are already prohibited in classrooms in France, starting in September 2018 students won’t be allowed to use them on breaks, at lunch, or between lessons either.
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“These days, the children don’t play at break time anymore,” Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of Education in France said. “They are just all in front of their smartphones and from an educational point of view, that’s a problem.”
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Additionally, it seems research is on the French government’s. According to a 2015 paperpublished by the London School of Economics, schools that banned mobile phones saw test scores for their 16-year-olds improve by 6.4%, or the equivalent of adding five days to the school year. “We found that not only did student achievement improve, but also that low-achieving and low-income students gained the most,” economists Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy told BBC.
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It’s not yet clear how the French ban will work but, according to the Guardian, no one is happy about it, including the teachers union, parents, and (naturally) students. Teachers are concerned they’ll be required to search students to make sure they have left all phones in their lockers.
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Many students may relate to pulling up their phones in class to check Facebook, and now with computers allowed in the school, surfing the internet for everything else than Google Classroom. The research behind France’s decision to ban devices poses difficult questions for our school. Did we make the right choice as a school? How can we measure if we did? How do we ensure that students follow class when they have a whole world of entertainment in front of them?
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There are many arguments for devices in class too. Some of these are that visual illustrations enhance learning, general sustainability, the ability of technology to adapt to the individual needs of students and much more.
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Perhaps an easy way to assess the situation in our school is simply to ask teachers whether they think Bring Your Own Device has increased performance or decreased attention paid by easily distracted students. Let us have the discussion in class.

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