New attendance app receives praise, controversy


Sagarika Ramachandran

The “Present Education” app’s homescreen, on an iPhone. The app locks students’ phones for the entirety of a class period.

Most of the time if a student pulls out their phone in class, the teacher will quickly tell them to put it away. Now, they don’t have to.

A new app called ‘Present Education’ is working to combat cell phone usage during classroom instruction by completely deactivating students’ phones. According to the Present Education website, once students are connected to the app at the start of class, “it works by preventing students from using other apps during class, ensuring that students are focused on the lesson – not their texts, games, and social media.” The whole phone is unusable when engaged by the teachers’ side of the app; students can’t even adjust their brightness.

This year, the administration asked French teacher Doug Siegel to be the first teacher to implement the app fully into their class.

“For most of my classes, the transition wasn’t too hard because I had already been doing a routine where [students] weren’t using their phones,” said Siegel. He had previously used cubby-style ziplock bags that students had to put their phones in before class started.

“Unfortunately, there are too many kids that check their phones too many times in class, and it’s a huge distraction,” he said.

According to Segel, the app has been a success in the classroom so far. However, some people, including administrators, think that phones can offer educational value to a classroom.

“I have been in classrooms where I have seen students using phones in a very academic way,” said Vice Principal Ginger Taylor.

Some students disagreed with how the app has been used.

“It seems kinda pointless like why not just take our phones at the beginning of each class. Because [the app] wastes battery. They said it wouldn’t be that much, but, like, just with one period your battery drops a noticeable amount, which is frustrating since I’m not using my phone all class but it drops like I am,” said senior Jax Nicoloff.

Smartphones seem to be the norm for students in the modern day. However, some students, like senior Jalen Javurek, are not affected by the new app.

“[A graduated senior] had a flip phone and I said yo, why don’t I do this too. I wasn’t a fan of social media and I was just wasting so much time on my phone.”