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Weston Warhorse

The Phone Pouch Problem

Photo Courtesy of Jessie Braden '20

Photo Courtesy of Jessie Braden '20

Graham Young, Staff Writer

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Let’s face it: phone pouches don’t work. To many students, those big blue organizers are nothing more than another way to take attendance. In addition, they threaten the ability to have a little bit of relief in class, when it is needed. Some people don’t even put their phones into these pouches. So why have some students put their phones away when others do not even use the pouches? These well-intended pouches are smart, but ultimately fail at their goal: to reduce distracting objects from detracting from class participation. I believe that there are alternatives to these pouches,
When teachers use the phone pouches to take attendance and see phones missing, they reasonably assume that the students are absent or late. In reality, some students only forgot or chose not to put their phones away. In some cases, students might not even have their phones with them. This means that those students will receive a shocking class grade that they really shouldn’t have received. I often neglect to put my phone away due to the pointlessness of it. I use my phone for work frequently, and putting it away only to get up and turn it back on is inefficient. These pouches are simply ineffective when it comes to taking attendance, and a nuisance when digital work is required.
There are alternatives to phone pouches. One is to have a short, designated time in a class period to use cell phones for whatever a student needs to do, such as go onto social media. Once that time is up, the students will shut off their phones. If every class had this policy, students would likely be happier after using their phones and therefore more focused in class. Some students report they feel anxiety when unable to check their phones for extended periods of time. With this policy, students could perform better in class, as they would have already checked their phones and stopped thinking about social media.
Another alternative is to integrate phones with learning. In an age of technological advancements and iPhones, there is a growing number of schools purchasing technology for work. If students were permitted to use educational apps, they would likely be much more engaged, as they can use technology while still learning. How does this tie into laptops and tablets, you may ask? That should remain up to the teacher.
One might argue that phone pouches help teachers, but this is simply not the case. According to Weston High School junior Lauren Bigelow, the phone pouches are ineffective. Some teachers don’t believe in them, and as a result don’t use them. In addition, she is not prone to using her cell phone in class.
Another Weston junior feels that the phone pouches bring distrust to the classroom. He says that these phone pouches cause him to feel a lack of trust from his teachers; when teachers used these pouches, he believed that the teachers didn’t trust the class to follow cell phone rules.
A Weston High School sophomore said that the pouches barely make a difference. She believes that the longstanding rules on cell phone usage already keep students in line; knowing that consequences such as phone confiscation are enforced keep most students out of trouble and in the moment.
Opinions on the phone pouches are varied but come to a central conclusion; they are unreliable for attendance-taking because some students don’t use the pouches, they create a sense among students that the teachers that use them don’t believe that students will follow school rules, and students feel that the school policies and consequences for not adhering to the rules are sufficient without using pouches. Perhaps the alternatives offered above such as integrating the usage of phone apps in the classroom, and even a brief social media break may ultimately be beneficial to those who yearn to use technology in the classroom in a controlled manner.

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The Phone Pouch Problem