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UNESCO says smartphones should be banned if they do not improve learning

A new report released by UNESCO has said that banning technology from schools can be ‘legitimate’ if it does not improve learning or if it worsens student wellbeing.

The report, focused on technology in education, stated that the use of smartphones and computers disrupts classroom and home learning activities. A study analysing the relationship between student mobile phone use and educational outcomes found a small negative effect, according to UNESCO.

The report said: “Incoming notifications or the mere proximity of a mobile device can be a distraction, resulting in students losing their attention from the task at hand.”

Studies analysing the link between smartphones and educational outcomes were mentioned frequently.

Responding to the report, Sarah Hannifin, head of police at school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “A complete ban on mobile phones may work for some schools. 

“However, in some cases it may cause more problems than it solves, leading to pupils becoming more secretive about their phone use meaning problems are hidden from staff and therefore more difficult to spot and address. 

“There are also practical reasons why pupils may need a mobile phone such as while travelling to and from school.

“Schools help to prepare young people for the outside world, and this includes equipping them with awareness and strategies to responsibly monitor their own screen use and the ability to identify and respond to any potentially harmful content and the impact it may have.

“Individual schools know their pupils and communities so are best placed to develop their own policies when it comes to mobile phones according to what works for them and for pupils’ education and wellbeing.”

Image from Pexels

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