Mr Lyons invented the Gadget Box after listening to student and peer concerns about the emerging threat of smartphones in the classroom. The device is currently being piloted across South West College campuses in Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh.
Students are encouraged to voluntarily place their smartphones into a uniquely designed compartment in the Gadget Box, a secure unit which also provides the option of charging the phone during the lesson. Leading by example, lecturers also place their smartphones into the Gadget Box. The Gadget Box can only be opened using a wireless key card.
Speaking about the Gadget Box, Mr Lyons said: “At South West College, we want to encourage students to embrace change and to take ownership of their learning in the classroom by placing their smartphone in the Gadget Box. Following an interruption-free lesson, students can collect their phone from the Gadget Box, before leaving the room and moving onto their next lesson. This sequence is repeated during the day and soon it becomes part of the students’ routines.”
Mr Lyons added: “Parents have also embraced the Gadget Box, as they know their children’s phone is safely contained and does not present a barrier to learning.”
Increased reports of incidents within schools and colleges, in areas such as cyberbullying, unsolicited photographs, distraction or simply time-wasting are some of the prevalent issues impacting on the learning environment.
Staff across SWC have commended the maturity of students in embracing the Gadget Box to help take control of their learning. Staff have also noted improved communication skills between lecturers and students.
Mr Lyons believes the Gadget Box is also ideal for other educational institutions and local businesses as collectively ‘students, teachers, employers and employees should embrace the smartphone whilst also being aware of how disruptive they are if overused in the classroom or the working environment.’
For more information on the Gadget Box, please contact John.Lyons@swc.ac.uk or call 077881785170. More information is available at www.gadgetboxes.co.uk