One of the hottest developments in education technology is schools banning technology.
After successive years of remote or hybrid learning, you might imagine tech-weary educators would be going after laptops and Zoom. But they are focused on cellphones, driven by three major concerns: students’ mental health, ability to stay engaged and learn during class, and struggles to focus for long stretches of time without task switching.
There’s an irony here. These bans are proliferating even as there are more useful, engaging, and instructionally sound mobile-learning applications than ever before. That suggests that cellphone bans, while useful in many school settings, shouldn’t be universal. We risk barring teachers, schools, and districts from productively using these apps to drive learning gains.