More Screen Time!

the devil's eyeball
Those nice people at the El Paso Independent School District, the ones who want to stick their hands a little deeper in your pocket, are giving every high school student a laptop, because, well, uh.

Now I remember. “It’s for the children.”

But what’s the correlation between education and screen time? This is from

A recent Anglo-American study, which recorded exam scores of English students aged 11 to 16 from 2001 to 2013, found that kids at schools with cellphone bans in place were two percentage points more likely to pass a compulsory end-of-term exam than those who carried phones with them throughout the day. The effect was twice as strong among struggling students, who were four percentage points more likely to pass the exam in a cellphone-free environment.

Because “high-achieving students” saw no improvement, researchers hypothesize that these kids are better at avoiding distractions than their peers. Allowing phones in classrooms, a University of Texas researcher writes, “would be the most damaging to low-achieving and low-income students, exacerbating any existing learning inequalities.”

Yeah, I know that smart phones aren’t the same as laptops. But they have a lot of characteristics in common. They’re both computers, but laptops are harder to lug around.

Computers are wonderful. I have one. It’s like a teevee with a typewriter attached. But, like heroin, computers can be abused. There is a lot of stuff on the World Wide Web that is not strictly educational.

A lot.

I think before we spend a lot of money giving every high school student a laptop and patting ourselves on the back for it (Ugh! Too late!), we should look into the consequences and potential for abuse.


  1. I already knew that about the allowance of cell phones vs. banning them. It is basically a no-brainer, after all. But, no local school district has anyone with the balls required to put such a ban in place, let alone enforce it.

  2. Um, student cell phone use is banned. Trachers and administrators will confiscate them and a penalty of $15 must be paid in order to retrieve them. As far as the personal smart phone vs school issued laptop, you’ll have to try harder to throw shade. It’s apples and oranges. Recreational use of school-Issued laptops is very restricted. No social media, porn etc. it’s really no different than the millions of Americans who now use a computer to perform their work. But then, who knows. Maybe all those Trump deplorables have been live streaming Fox News too much. It’s a nation of dumbasses.

    1. I appreciate your insight. How is recreational use of laptops restricted? How does that work? Do students take the laptops home with them? Are they restricted to the on-campus network?

      Thanks for any additional insight you can provide.

      1. Laptops usage is monitored and hiistories reviewed. Erasing iof certain files and cache requires admin privileges. It’s really not that hard. I suppose a genius techie kid could hack that, but then that’s a risk even the federal government faces. And dunno about YISD, but EPISD has policy and certain teachers and admin’s who see it as their number one mission to bust kids using cell phones.

        1. I’m no expert, but couldn’t the kids just anonymize their browsers? It’s two keystrokes for me with Firefox. And there’s no history.

    2. All local school districts enforce a cell phone ban? Are you sure? All I know is that when I worked as a school nurse in the Ysleta District, there was no ban. Granted, that was some years ago.

  3. There will be an interesting show on PBS tonight (NOVA Series) regarding the future of education; relating to technology. I look forward to seeing it and hope that our districts take heart, before getting us in Billion dollar debt.

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