Yondr pouches are not the answer
Phones have been a huge problem for teachers in the past decade. They are often distractions and make it difficult for teachers to teach and students to learn. One solution has been the Yondr pouch, but is it really the best solution?
Yondr pouches are bags for individual cell phones. In some school districts, students must place their cell phone in a pouch at the beginning of a class period and get them back at the end. At other schools, all students place their phone in a Yondr pouch at the beginning of the school day, and they can use them during break or lunch, and get them back at the end of the school day. Some teachers at CVHS are starting to use these pouches, and it is possible that it could spread to the whole school.
At The Olympian, we took a vote on whether we think CVHS should use Yondr pouches or not. After some debate, our final response was no. Yondr pouches are very expensive: each bag costs $15-30. This amount multiplied by our 3,000-member student body would mean that CVHS would be spending a lot of money on these bags. This money could be used for more important things, such as textbooks.
Besides, it’s easy to cheat the system. At other schools, kids will put old phones in the Yondr pouch and use their actual phone throughout the day. Kids will always find a way.
If the students’ phones are locked up all day, how will they answer important phone calls from their parents? If there is an emergency, it is much faster to reach a student by their cell phone than to call the front office. Finally, there are other alternatives to the Yondr pouch that are much cheaper, and effective.
With all these negatives, there are a few positive aspects to the Yondr pouch. It will ultimately limit the phone use of students on campus, which means kids will not be as distracted as they would be with phones. Without phones, our campus might be more connected. Often instead of talking to other students, kids will merely go on their phones. This could make a disconnect between students.
But isn’t there a better way to do it? Many teachers at CVHS already have a system like the Yondr pouches, only cheaper. Some have a cabinet for phones. This is less expensive, but achieves the same goal. Other teachers have a charging station for phones. This means that their phones will be away from the students, plus the phones will be charged after class.
Maybe teachers don’t even need to take the phones away. Instead they could set clear, strict rules about when students can use their phones. Many teachers say kids can’t use their phones, but then do not reprimand them if they do; teachers with strict rules about phones have fewer problems. In engaging classes, most students don’t want to take out their phones.
Phones are a huge problem, but there are much more cheaper and efficient solutions than the Yondr pouch.
6 thoughts on “Yondr pouches are not the answer”
I take umbrage with a couple points in the OP. First, kids don’t care about a reprimand. Unless the policy has teeth and the kid loses their phone to the front office–with a parent needed to reclaim the phone–this is useless piffle. Most districts consider this a minor violation. Teachers will be reprimanded for writing kids up for phones and kids will go scot free. To be fair, it is minor when juxtaposed with bullying, fighting, vapes, etc. But even students (who obviously wish to keep their phones and will of course be opposed to a pouch or ban or whatever) must acknowledge the amount of mischief made possible when students use their phones, whether it is facetiming another student in another class *during class!* or kids airdropping the location of a fight about to happen in the passing period so they can all get a video (on their phones). See how ridiculous this cycle is? You can’t tell a kid to stay off the device when it offers so much temptation. It doesn’t work. Also, I don’t have the instructional minutes to keep telling Johnny to put it away. Eventually I have to write up and this is itself an incredible hassle.
Second, there is no important thing a parent has to convey to a kid that the front office cannot handle more quickly and efficiently. If a child is being signed out because of an emergency, the front office still has to call me to excuse the student. Skip the step. Parents, stop it. I’m here to tell you that your kid is likely behind and needs the time in class. This is a bad trend: parents don’t value education or they’d follow the rules themselves.
Third, I ask you with all seriousness: what video game or friend’s silly tiktok is less engaging than an English class or Chem lab? The most engaging teacher in the universe can’t compete with the stimulation provided by the phone. There are high performing kids and struggling kids that are locked in because they want to do well. But most students see school as an inconvenience. I see it. They might not put these words to it but it is true.
I suppose this is all complaint without solutions because I live this and there is no solution. We are all addicted–read that again–to our devices. They’re designed that way. We’ve basically programmed ourselves to need the phone as an extension of ourselves. We have an online presence and a real world. We have to check the screen when it vibrates. We’re conditioned. This might be tenable for a great student. They might be able to compartmentalize. (Although think how much they could learn if they were distraction free!) But a student in an underserved demographic–impoverished, food insecure, housing insecure, ELL, etc., has the phone and it might be the only thing they have. They aren’t giving it up. Educators cannot compete. We simply can’t. Were I to put forward a solution, it would be a ban on devices in the building period. Good luck implementing that.
I’ve been teaching for 24 years and I have a very strict cell phone policy. I teach chemistry and I have two class policies, no phones no gum. This is in writing distributed to the students and parents at the beginning of the year, posted on my wall, and attached all paperwork, as a footer, that I hand out to the students. Despite this constant reminder I fight this battle every single solitary day. I have students taking selfies and pictures, cheat using their phones, bully using your phone, play games and watch videos during my class. If I can raise the funds I’m gonna try this and see what happens.
Department of Education has budget for this but are cutting actual enrichment programs for elementary schools? Who are the geniuses in charge of the educational system in this country? (newsflash, if you want to sequester phones during school hours, a bin at the teacher’s table will work just as well without having to award a huge contract to some organization for dumb magnetic bags).
They will NOT work. We need to make it so that those who take their phones out in class when they have been specifically told NOT to do so should lose participation points for that, and when they see their grades go down and they will stop going on their phones in class and they will learn from their mistake. Of course, this should ONLY go for teachers who give participation points, as not all teachers do.
How bout let’s stop buying kids phones.
This sounds like some suburban school where the kids actually listen toand respect authority figures, the inner city is not like this scenario. combatitive students who think they are abults at 15. “a cabinet”?, NO, with kids wandering the room the cabinet will get raided, a phone will get stolen and then you will have an irate parent blaming you for their loss; Yondr pouches will work.
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