In recent years, mobiles phones have become the primary distractor in a student’s education.
To combat this, Wyong High School has decided to use new and innovative technology to combat phone use during school hours.
This new technology comes in the form of a pouch called a Yondr Pouch, designed to stop students from using their phone on school grounds.
Each morning when entering the school, students place their mobile phone into their allocated phone pouch, which has a magnetic locking system, and the phone is off and pouched away for the entire school day.
The students keep their pouch in their bag with them throughout the day and at the end of the school day, they release their phones from the pouches at designated magnet stations at school before heading home.
This whole process is completed in a very short period.
“As a school, we are consistently evaluating and looking for how we can continue to support students achieving improved learning outcomes with high expectations.
“We see everyday that mobile phone, when used irresponsibly, are the main distractor from learning and play a significant role in having an impact on a young person’s social and emotional wellbeing.
“We strongly believe, and the research evidence supports us, that the students at Wyong High School would have greater opportunities for increased learning time and also communication, socialisation and positive physical activity, if they don’t have the distractor of their phones during the school day,” said Wyong High School’s Deputy Principal, Murray Balfe.
“The students have responded extremely well.
“Obviously, they were not particularly happy about the change in process initially, yet I feel we explained the goals of the change and the intended outcomes well in advance so that they understood our purpose,” said Balfe.
“I have had very insightful feedback from our students that they feel the change has increased their ability to focus in class and also we have seen a significant increase in physical activity in our break times,” said Balfe.
Balfe has also noticed that the noise level around the school has increased as students move and interact more, the school has also sourced more equipment for students to use during breaks by student request.
“The teachers have been very positive with the change, I recently surveyed the staff and found that 94 percent of teachers found more teaching and learning time in their lessons of 10 minutes or more.
“They are definitely impressed with the increase of laughter and communication around Wyong High School,” Balfe.
“I honestly think we have all been pleasantly surprised by how quickly and effectively the students have adjusted.
“It honestly feels like this is already just part of our culture at Wyong High School,” said Balfe.
“Teachers are adjusting their planning to allow for extra time and engagement and we are also seeing students interacting in a more positive way.
“Our parents and community have been very supportive as well, they are adjusting to communicating with their child through the school office, rather than directly, but are appreciative that this structure is helping their child to engage in learning and build on healthy relationships with each other,” said Balfe.
Teachers have the ability to facilitate the use of mobile phones for learning in the classroom if required.
Yondr is an American company founded in 2014, and the Yondr pouch is currently being used for a range of other phone free settings such as concerts, nightclubs and even courthouses.
The pouch is designed to deter people from recording or taking photographs, or stopping the distraction of using their phone.