Education is everything. And our children's well-being is always our top priority. But it's not easy for parents, teachers or schools to negotiate the technology debate, especially when mobiles are everywhere.
Undoubtedly technology plays a vital and helpful role in today's educational world. But can you have too much of a good thing? What age is too early for a child to own a mobile? Are there long term social impacts on child development?
These are just some of the conversations we're starting with the help of global education experts, education establishments and parents around the world.
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THE BIG QUESTION...
Is technology affecting the way our children learn? Join the debate...
HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN
Teacher? School? University? College? Discover how you, your students and your institutions can participate in the World Mobile Free Day.
St Narcis School, Girona
Discover how the teachers and pupils at Sant Narcis have designed lesson plans and activities.
The Experts View
We spoke with Catherine l'Ecuyer, renowned academic and author of "The Wonder Approach to Learning".
Catherine shared her insights with us into the current landscape of mobile technology usage amongst children, and we reviewed some of the challenges parents face in the modern day tech environment.
Some surprising facts:
Within the next few weeks, we'll be speaking with Catherine l'Ecuyer, renowned academic and author of "The Wonder Approach to Learning".
Catherine will share her insights with us into the current landscape of mobile technology usage amongst children, and we will review some of the challenges parents face in the modern day tech environment.
Coming Soon - video series:
We've spent some time with the people who really have a say here - the children themselves. Hear about the pressures kids face today, and how they actually use phones.
Coming Soon - video series:
3 families disconnect with their children for 3 months!
We've followed the progress of 3 families as they've removed mobile technology from their lives at home. We'll soon discover how they've gotten on!
Interview: Gloudina from WildMe
"Mobile devices are suitable tools for mature minds, but their regular use over time can have effects on the development of vital skills such as concentration, creativity, empathy and socialising"
Interview: Amb Bet Portavella - psicologa (CAT)
"Els nens com els adults volen estar tot el dia connectats. Ja sigui amb l'exterior, com amb els seus companys per comentar en directe tot el que pugui estar passant o el que puguin estar pensant."
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Case Study Primary
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Schools that ban mobile phones see better academic results
Effect of ban on phones adds up to equivalent of extra week of classes over a pupil’s school year
The research also indicated that a ban would have a greater positive effect on students with special education needs and those eligible for free school meals.
It is a question that keeps some parents awake at night. Should children be allowed to take mobile phones to school? Now economists claim to have an answer. For parents who want to boost their children’s academic prospects, it is no.
The effect of banning mobile phones from school premises adds up to the equivalent of an extra week’s schooling over a pupil’s academic year, according to research by Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy, published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.
“Ill Communication: The Impact of Mobile Phones on Student Performance”found that after schools banned mobile phones, the test scores of students aged 16 improved by 6.4%. The economists reckon that this is the “equivalent of adding five days to the school year”.
The findings will feed into the ongoing debate about children’s access to mobile phones. In the UK, more than 90% of teenagers own a mobile phone; in the US, just under three quarters have one. The prevalence of the devices poses problems for head teachers, whose attitude towards the technology has hardened as it has become ubiquitous.
In a survey conducted in 2001, no school banned mobiles. By 2007, this had risen to 50%, and by 2012 some 98% of schools either did not allow phones on school premises or required them to be handed in at the beginning of the day.
However, some schools are starting to allow limited use of the devices. New York mayor Bill de Blasio has lifted a 10-year ban on phones on school premises, with the city’s chancellor of schools stating that it would reduce inequality. This view is misguided, according to Beland and Murphy, who found that the ban produced improvements in test scores among students, with the lowest-achieving students gaining twice as much as average students. The ban had a greater positive impact on students with special education needs and those eligible for free school meals, while having no discernible effect on high achievers.
“We found that not only did student achievement improve, but also that low-achieving and low-income students gained the most. We found the impact of banning phones for these students was equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days.
“Therefore, de Blasio’s lifting of the ban on mobile phones with a stated intention of reducing inequalities may in fact lead to the opposite. Allowing phones into schools will harm the lowest-achieving and low-income students the most.”
The research was carried out at Birmingham, London, Leicester and Manchester schools before and after bans were introduced. It factored in characteristics such as gender, eligibility for free school meals, special educational needs status and prior educational attainment. “Technological advancements are commonly viewed as increasing productivity,” the economists write. “Modern technology is used in the classroom to engage students and improve performance. There are, however, potential drawbacks as well, as they could lead to distractions.”