While the study suffers from the classic media folly of over-sensationalized results (the study only looked at 4 phone-banning schools and the effect a rather small 6% improvement), anecdotal evidence from teachers shows that students seem to have a hard time prying their eyes away from the screens.
Given that nearly every student has a wifi-powered phone, it is also important to consider the implications of students using school internet access for their own means.
Ultimately, it comes down to the question “Is the technology able to aid learning without becoming a distraction?
”, and each school board will have to base their policy on how they answer that question.
Given recent events involving school shootings, some are resistant to taking away student phones, which provide the opportunity to call for help if separated from their class, as well as the ability to record any incident for video proof.
Moving Forward Any technological development has the potential to help students learn.
The study which found a connection between banning cell phones and improvements on tests also found something which could be used as an argument technology in schools.
Demographic information showed that test scores improved differently by race, with minority and under-privileged groups improving their performance most.
Research summarized in this publication shows many studies of schools that granted every student a laptop.
The studies found that laptop usage improved student engagement and writing scores, but the biggest result was that schools that treated technology as a supplement did not do as well as schools that structured their curriculum around technology.