Students ‘learn better’ without mobile phones

A couple of news articles on the BBC News website have grabbed my attention recently. Both relate to students’ use of mobile phones in the classroom.

This has always been a hot topic of debate with many extolling the virtues of meeting students where they find them and maximising the use of the technology they readily bring to school with them every day. A number of organisations across the globe have even experimented with bring your own device (BYOD) projects with varying levels of success.

The other side of the argument though is that student use of mobile phones in the classroom is at best distracting, often disruptive and sometimes disastrous!

Two recent studies, reported by the BBC, have come down in favour of the latter side of the debate: students learn better without mobile phones.

In the BBC article Students ‘cannot multi-task with mobiles and study’, headlines from the joint study by Ohio University, Illinois State University and Nebraska University, ‘Mobile Phones in the Classroom: Examining the Effects of Texting, Twitter, and Message Content on Student Learning’ – a study of 145 undergraduates, state that ‘When the students were tested on their ability to recall information and in multiple-choice questions, there were significantly better results for those who had “abstained” from using mobile devices.’

The full research paper can be found here.

In another recent article, Mobile phone bans ‘improve school exam results’, research is presented from the London School of Economics, which observed a 6% increase in test scores in schools where mobile phones were banned and concluded: ‘the impact of banning phones for these students was equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days.’

The LSE research paper is embedded in full below: