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How signal blocking devices will change learning environments

Kerrie-Anne Chinn
2016-08-22

Ever taken a photo while watching one of your favorite bands play? Or filmed part of a concert or performance on your phone?

If you’ve got a smartphone, and an active social media account, it’s very likely you’ve used both at some point – to capture, preserve and share an experience. However, with so many people keen to document these memories through a quick pic, many venues and artists are finding their polite “No Cameras” requests are being largely ignored.

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Creating No Phone Zones for Artists

Apple’s new patent for signal blocking device technology could soon change this, by removing the camera ability from our smartphones and taking the capability right out of our hands.

Some artists, such as Alicia Keys and comedians Dave Chappelle, Louis CK and Chris Rock, have already turned to devices such as Yondr, as a way of promoting a no phone policy at their shows. Yondr works by locking away attendees’ phones in soft pouches, removing the temptation to snap any photos and giving venues and artists the tools they need for phone-free spaces.

On entering the event or venue, audience members place their phones inside the Yondr soft case – when they step into the phone-free zone the case will lock.  Each audience member still carries their own phone on them, but won’t be able to remove it from the Yondr case to use it.

If attendees need to use their phone at any time, or in an emergency situation, they simply step out of the no phone zone and the case will unlock.

Introducing Apple’s Signal Blocking Device Technology

With its recently patented signal blocking device technology, Apple is taking this concept one step further, to effectively disable the cameras in smartphones at specific venues or locations. This means that in the not so distant future, our smartphone cameras may simply no longer work in certain situations, such as concerts, art exhibitions or events.

With signal blocking technology, infrared rays are used to force iPhone cameras to shut off at any venues where video, photo and audio recording is prohibited. As described in an article by The Atlantic, Apple’s new patent uses infrared technology, which can be picked up by the camera and interpreted by the smartphone as a command to block the user from taking any photos or videos.

For example, a venue could use an emitter placed on stage that would disable photography and recording in any phones that are pointed towards the stage, stopping people from taking pics and footage of the band or artist throughout the show. 

Using Signal Blocking Devices in the Classroom

This technology could also prove very interesting for learning environments, in that it has the potential to be used for all manner of applications other than photography.

In certain situations, such as a classroom or staff training room, smartphones have become a huge distraction. Teachers everywhere are frustrated by students’ addictions to smartphones, with students using their phones in class for texting, browsing and even cheating on exams. A similar scenario can be seen in workplaces, with employees wasting more time on their smartphones than before.

Just as musicians and artists ask attendees to switch off their phones during their concerts, teachers and managers can ask students and staff to put down their phones in class – but how effective is this method?

Signal blocking devices could remove this distraction from the classroom and workplace entirely, allowing students and staff to focus and become more engaged.

Keeping Staff and Students Focused and Engaged

Whether or not Apple’s signal blocking device technology can be considered effective and appropriate for learning environments, it opens up an interesting discussion around the distractions of smartphones for students and staff and the importance of keeping individuals engaged.

There are many excellent online training resources that can help you to make your learning environment as engaging as possible for your class or team members.

In the absence of signal blocking devices, why not check out some of the great courses in Go1’s marketplace – you can simply enroll and complete training modules online, at your own pace, using the Go1 platform.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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