Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Schools That Ban Mobile Phones See Better Academic Results 113 writes: Jamie Doward reports at The Guardian that according to a recent study in the UK, the effect of banning mobile phones from school premises adds up to the equivalent of an extra week's schooling over a pupil's academic year with the test scores of students aged 16 improved by 6.4% after schools banned mobile phones, "We found that not only did student achievement improve, but also that low-achieving and low-income students gained the most. We found the impact of banning phones for these students was equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days." In the UK, more than 90% of teenagers own a mobile phone; in the US, just under three quarters have one. In a survey conducted in 2001, no school banned mobiles. By 2007, this had risen to 50%, and by 2012 some 98% of schools either did not allow phones on school premises or required them to be handed in at the beginning of the day. But some schools are starting to allow limited use of the devices. New York mayor Bill de Blasio has lifted a 10-year ban on phones on school premises, with the city's chancellor of schools stating that it would reduce inequality.

The research was carried out at Birmingham, London, Leicester and Manchester schools before and after bans were introduced (PDF). It factored in characteristics such as gender, eligibility for free school meals, special educational needs status and prior educational attainment. "Technological advancements are commonly viewed as increasing productivity," write Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy. "Modern technology is used in the classroom to engage students and improve performance. There are, however, potential drawbacks as well, as they could lead to distractions."
The Internet

About 40% of World Population Online, 90% of Offliners In Developing Countries 45

New submitter lx76 writes: The International Telecommunications Union does research on telecommunications in society worldwide, from cellphones to internet use. Since 2009, on a yearly basis, they've released their research findings in a report called the Measuring Information Society Report. This year's report is over 200 pages long, illustrated with abundant graphs and tables (PDF). It's not a light read. But one of the interesting numbers is an index showing the divide in global connectivity. From the report: "Over the past year, the world witnessed continued growth in the uptake of ICT [Information and Communication Technology] and, by end 2014, almost 3 billion people will be using the Internet, up from 2.7 billion at end 2013..... Despite this encouraging progress, there are important digital divides that need to be addressed: 4.3 billion people are still not online, and 90 per cent of them live in the developing world."

The report continues, "As this report finds, ICT performance is better in countries with higher shares of the population living in urban areas, where access to ICT infrastructure, usage and skills is more favorable. Yet it is precisely in poor and rural areas where ICTs can make a particularly significant impact." Projects like Google's Project Loon have their work cut out for them."

'Bandwidth Divide' Could Bar Some From Free Online Courses 222

An anonymous reader writes "The Bandwidth Divide is a form of what economists call the Red Queen effect referring to a scene in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass when Alice races the Red Queen. As the Red Queen tells Alice: 'It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!' Keeping up with digital technology is like that race — it takes a continual investment of money and time just to keep up with the latest, and an exceptional amount of work to get ahead of the pack. 'The question is, What is the new basic?' said one researcher. 'There will always be inequality. But 100 years after the introduction of the car, not everybody has a Ferrari, but everyone has access to some form of motorized transportation through buses.' Well, not everyone, but even fewer people have the online equivalent. Colleges considering MOOCs should remember that."

Georgia Apple Store Refuses To Sell iPad To Iranian-American Teen 1116

pdclarry writes "An Iranian-American teenager was told by an Apple store employee that they could not sell her an iPad because it would violate U.S. trade restrictions. She returned to the store with a camera crew from a local TV station and was again turned down. Apparently an Apple employee heard her speaking Farsi. As he was also of Iranian extraction he recognized the language and used this as a basis for refusal."

Why Are Indian Kids So Good At Spelling? 534

theodp writes "Slate's Ben Paynter looks into why Indian kids dominate the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and concludes it's because they have their own minor-league spelling bee circuit (having the discipline to spell 7,000 to 8,000 words a day probably helps too!). Indian-Americans make up about 1% of the US population, notes Paynter, but this year an estimated 11% of the competitors at Scripps will hail from regional contests run by the North South Foundation. The NSF competitions function as a kind of nerd Olympiad for Indian-Americans — there are separate divisions for math, science, vocabulary, geography, essay writing, and even public speaking — and a way to raise money for college scholarships for underprivileged students in India. BTW, Strollerderby has the scoop on Whatever Happened to the Spellbound Kids? (RIP, Ted Brigham)."

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.