Sunday 18 April 2021

Smartphones have found their place in Dutch classrooms

Facebook app in front of FacebookSmartphones have become an integral part of the Dutch education system, with 85% of secondary schools using them in lessons, broadcaster Nos said on Monday.

Nos researched attitudes to mobile phones at 137 secondary schools and found that just 10% had banned smartphones from the classroom.

In half of the schools questioned, smartphones are allowed in the classroom but can only be used with the permission of the teacher. In one in four schools there are no restrictions on smartphone use, Nos found.

Almost all the schools which have incorporated smartphones into education allow pupils to use them to find information. A clear majority also use educational apps and have integrated smartphones into quizzes and tests. In one-third of schools, teachers communicate with their pupils via smartphone.


Nevertheless, schools are still wrestling with the use of smartphones and only half believe they have enriched the education process. Just 15 of the schools questioned do not experience any problems with the use of mobile phones.

More than half say pupils’ concentration has been hit by their use. One school in Oegstgeest noted: ‘Pupils would rather be using Whatsapp all day and that cannot be reconciled with concentrating on education’.

However, another school in Rotterdam said the mobile phone is no more of a distraction, comparable with  ‘sending notes to each other throughout the lesson or staring out of the window’.

Some schools also said they have had to embrace mobile phones because there was no other way. Taking the phones off the children only resulted in ‘angry parents making a fuss’, one school in Groningen reported.

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