MCHS Tests Locking Cellphone Cases
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.
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.