MCHS Tests Lock­ing Cell­phone Cases

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Dick­er­son

At McDon­ald County High School, a pi­lot pro­gram has be­gun to re­move smart­phones as a dis­trac­tion dur­ing class. Lo­gan Grab, a ninth-grade English teacher, is test­ing a prod­uct called Yondr.

At McDon­ald County High School, a pi­lot pro­gram has be­gun to re­move smart­phones as a dis­trac­tion dur­ing class.

Lo­gan Grab, a ninth-grade English teacher, is test­ing a prod­uct called Yondr. It con­sists of lock­ing cases for smart­phones and an un­lock­ing base. Stu­dents place their phones in the cases, lock them and main­tain pos­ses­sion of them dur­ing class, but they can­not use them again un­til the end of class when they touch the lock to the un­lock­ing base.

Grab said, “Most of our kids do have cell­phones. While they can be used for good things, they are also a source of dis­trac­tion, espe­cially so­cial me­dia. The main goal is for stu­dent achieve­ment and learn­ing to in­crease. There is a lot of data out there that Yondr makes that hap­pen.”

Grab said of­ten stu­dents have to be asked to put their phones away, and they will com­ply, only to bring them out again 15 min­utes later.

“Hav­ing those out, it gets in the way of stu­dent learn­ing,” she said.

She hopes that Yondr could be a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem.

She added, “My phone is in one too, all day. I al­ways tell my stu­dents I’m not go­ing to ask them to do some­thing I’m not will­ing to do, so I am do­ing this too, all day.”

Grab said she found out about Yondr from her hus­band, who learned that some per­form­ers had used the cases dur­ing their shows. She looked into it on­line and dis­cov­ered that a few schools had used Yondr as well.

“We’re test­ing through De­cem­ber, and then we will see if we want to ex­pand it,” she said. The school dis­trict funded the pi­lot pro­gram, she noted.

Af­ter only two days of test­ing the cases, Grab said she could see a dif­fer­ence.

“We’ve had this for two days, and I have seen a tremen­dous dif­fer­ence,” she said. “Stu­dents who had trou­ble en­gag­ing in con­ver­sa­tion have made al­most a 180. Par­ent feed­back has been very pos­i­tive.”

She said if the pro­gram is ex­panded, teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors may want to con­sider keep­ing stu­dents’ phones on lock­down, not only all day but also dur­ing lunch be­cause stu­dents do not seem to in­ter­act with one an­other much dur­ing lunch when they are all on their phones. Im­prov­ing so­cial skills could be a re­sult, which could be im­por­tant for fu­ture em­ploy­ment, she said.

RACHEL DICK­ER­SON/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

McDon­ald County High School ninth-grade English teacher Lo­gan Grab is pic­tured with a Yondr cell­phone case, a con­tainer for hold­ing the cases and the mag­netic base for un­lock­ing the cases. She is test­ing the cases through De­cem­ber.

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