Starting September 2018, smartphones will be banned from schools entirely by order of the French ministry of education. Students, who already can't use them in the classroom, will also be forbidden from using them during breaks, lunches, and in between classes. The ban is upsetting students, teachers, and parents alike, but research shows that a lack of smartphones in the classroom improves children's learning.
Research is on Bloomberg—and the French government’s—side. According to a 2015 working paper (pdf) published by the London School of Economics, schools that banned mobile phones saw test scores for their 16-year-olds improve by 6.4%, or the equivalent of adding five days to the school year. “We found that not only did student achievement improve, but also that low-achieving and low-income students gained the most,” economists Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy told the BBC.
It’s not yet clear how the French ban will work but, according to the Guardian, no one is happy about it, including the teachers union, parents, and (naturally) students. Teachers are concerned they’ll be required to search students to make sure they have left all phones in their lockers.
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