Ban smartphones, improve student grades

what do smartphone signal bars mean
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends
Technology certainly has its place in the classroom, but not when as a smartphone. According to a new study from the London School of Economics, banning smartphones was linked to improved test scores among students in the U.K. As researchers Richard Murphy and Louis-Philippe Beland told CNN, “We found the impact of banning phones for these students equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days.”

The study, which followed 130,000 students in 91 schools with data beginning in 2001, found that schools that banned smartphones altogether in the classroom saw grades improve by an average of 6.4 percent. Underachieving students benefited even more from this lack of distraction, with their scores jumping by an average of 14 percent sans smartphone. Speaking with CNN, researchers noted, “The results suggest that low-achieving students are more likely to be distracted by the presence of mobile phones, while high achievers can focus in the classroom regardless of the mobile phone policy.”

Despite the clearly adverse effects of smartphones in schools, separating kids these days from their mobile devices may prove rather difficult. A 2013 Pew Research study showed that 78 percent of teens had cell phones, and 37 percent owned smartphones. That represented a 14 percent increase from 2011, which means that if the trend continued into today, over half of American teenagers would be equipped with these Internet-connected devices.

And while some parents argue that these phones are a necessary evil to ensure a clear channel of communication with their children, the vast majority of cellphone usage, particularly smartphone usage, seems less geared toward calling mom or dad and more toward checking Facebook, posting to Instagram, or gaming.

In March, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted a long-standing ban on cellphones in New York City public schools, a decision that Murphy and Beland questioned on CNN. Said the researchers, “Schools could significantly reduce the education achievement gap by prohibiting mobile phone use in schools, and so by allowing phones in schools, New York may unintentionally increase the inequalities of outcomes.”

Still, there are teachers who have opted to embrace the influx of smartphones, such as Ken Halla, a world history and AP government teacher who has 22 years of experience in his back pocket and has decided to use the new technology to his advantage. He told the National Education Association, “I’ve always been that type of person who likes to adapt and change as time goes on. Otherwise, I wouldn’t still be teaching this many years down the road.”

Product Review

The new iPad Mini certainly isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here are our impressions of Apple’s new 7.9-inch…
Gaming

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
Gaming

Apex Legends cheaters reportedly being kicked out with permanent hardware bans

Respawn Entertainment has reportedly started issuing permanent hardware bans against Apex Legends cheaters. The studio is raising the bar on how cheating in online multiplayer games should be dealt with.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Deals

Here are the best Chromebook deals available in March 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
News

Browse safely and securely with Opera’s unlimited VPN on Android

Opera has added a new VPN to its Android browser, offering an easy way to keep your privacy and data locked up solid, and with no limits on usage or cost, you can keep it on all the time.
Mobile

You can now listen to Google Podcasts on your desktop without the app

The Google Podcasts app is no longer entirely necessary to listen to the podcasts it offers. With a simple tweak of the sharing URL, you can listen to a Google Podcasts podcast on your desktop or laptop without the app.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G might be a few short weeks away from launch

Samsung has announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show as it's among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.
Computing

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.
Mobile

Type away on the best iPad keyboard cases, from the Mini to the Pro

Whether you're looking to replace your laptop with a tablet or merely want to increase your typing speed, a physical iPad keyboard is the perfect companion to the iPad. Check out our top picks for every available iPad model.
Mobile

Apple patent suggests Apple Watch bands could have built-in fitness indicators

Apple may be exploring ways to make Apple Watch bands a little more useful. A new patent has been filed by Apple that suggests Apple Watch bands could eventually have indicators for things like fitness goals.
Mobile

Apple patents hint at improved Apple Store and unboxing experiences

It looks like Apple is working on ways to improve the Apple Store and product unboxing experiences. The company has been awarded a few patents, largely for tech that can be used in product packaging to ensure products stay charged.
Wearables

Fossil made a smartwatch in 2004, and it’s part of a new brand retrospective

Fossil has been making watches for 35 years, and to celebrate the anniversary, it has a new retrospective exhibit complete with the first smartwatch it made — the Wrist Net watch from 2004.