Classrooms pilot new phone locking system

Brooke Falk, News Editor

A container holds multiple Yondr pouches, while a phone is inside one of the pouches. The magnetic locking bases are there to secure and unlock phones from the individual pouches. Photo by Brooke Falk

During English class, senior Theresa Burke sat in the nurses’ office with chest pain. She was unable to call her dad as she could not remember his phone number. The nurse had to walk to Burke’s class and ask the teacher to unlock her phone from its Yondr case.

Yondr is a phone locking system that various teachers are piloting this year. Students place their cell phones into individual cases that are secured by metal locks. The cases cannot be opened without a magnetic unlocking base that is located in each participating classroom.

Science teacher Grant Kudert uses Yondr in his class. He said Yondr allows students to keep their phones with them during class, but restricts access to viewing or operating them. The product was originally used by comedians and bands who hoped to engage their audience and eliminate distractions.

He said phones are generally a distraction in his classes and he has noticed a positive change in his students after using Yondr this year.

“I do think that it has been beneficial, just by … improving that face-to-face [interaction], and also  decreasing those distractions in the classroom as well,” Kudert said.

Junior Maddie Kelenzon uses Yondr in her class and said she has an issue with the product regarding emergency situations. 

It concerns her that she might not have access to her phone during an evacuation. Additionally, Kelenzon said she has an issue with the accessibility of the product.

“I feel like sometimes it’s easy to use, but sometimes it gets jammed and you have to really try to unlock it,” Kelenzon said.

According to Kudert, phones can be useful tools in class, especially in physics. The use of videos, calculators, timers and more is helpful.

“The cell phone is powerful because it can be a very powerful science lab tool, and so we’re kind of committing to not using that, so there’s a downside for use in a Physics classroom for sure,” Kudert said.

Despite these inconveniences, Kudert said he sees Yondr as a positive change in his classroom environment. He is interested to hear students’ thoughts about the product and whether they feel Yondr is a positive or negative addition.