I learned about Yondr pouches from an educational leadership group I follow online. They are used extensively in Australian high schools which ban cell phones during the school day. According to an article in The Guardian, more than a thousand schools in the United States have Yondrs too.
When kids walk into school they place their phones into a Yondr pouch and when they close it their phones are locked inside for the day.
As they leave the school they place their phone on a magnetic button which opens the case.
I understand why schools think they need to use Yondr pouches. When I was teaching high school in Manitoba phones were not to be used in class but kids found all kinds of ways to get around that.
I was constantly catching kids using their phones and had to threaten to take them away. I gave them a warning but if they didn’t comply I took their phones away and they had to go to the school office with a parent to retrieve them.
The Yondr removes the need for teachers to police phone use and the need to be the ‘bad guy.’ I had students tell me I was mean and ruining their life by taking away their phones.
I am not sure what I think of Yondrs. Students definitely need to limit the use of their cell phones in class. Ontario’s Department of Education has an official policy that phones are only to be used in class for educational purposes and for medical reasons.
I know I find it very difficult to try and give a tour of the Winnipeg Art Gallery to groups of students when their teachers allow them to be on their phones. It’s even worse when the teachers are on their phones too. I think my tours are pretty engaging and interesting but I can’t compete with text messages from friends or Tik Tok feeds.
Perhaps Yondrs are a temporary solution but what we really need to do is teach ourselves and our kids how to use our phones responsibly and wisely, so they don’t rule our lives or turn our attention away from other things that are important.