Yondr, The New Phone Case Where You Can’t Use Your Phone


The Yondr pouch being used in classrooms. Taken by Kenneth Forbeck

Jacob Hanekamp and Kenneth Forbeck

Yondr, a device that prevents a quick snap to a friend, or listening to music during lecture time, has come to Craig for the 2018-19 school year.
A quick snap or listening to a favorite song can cost students their best performance in class. “Yondr is being used at Craig to reduce student distractions and boost student engagement in classrooms,” said assistant principal Shawn Kane.

Yondr is a locking pouch that students put their phone in during the beginning of class. Once their phone is in the pouch, students get it back but can’t access their phone until the class ends.

They unlock it with a magnet base set on the teachers desk.

Based in San Francisco, Yondr was founded by Graham Dugoni in 2014, and among the first to use it were American comedian Joe Rogan and American singer-songwriter Jack White.

The goal of Yondr is to create more phone-free environments. The Yondr pouch has attracted attention being used at events like concerts, and comedian live shows outside of schools.

It is useful for keeping certain things secret if the performer reveals original content. Plus, performers generally don’t like looking into the crowd and seeing a sea of phones rather than adoring faces.

If students haven’t heard about Yondr, that is because it is only being piloted in 11 classrooms this year, but it may be in more next year.

Yondr could be adopted schoolwide and it may be used in places other than the classroom. “It could be used at all school events if someone is managing it,” said Kane.

“Yondr being in more classrooms depends on the budget and the feedback that the pilot teachers give,” said Kane.

At first, people may hate the concept, but some recognize that their phone may cause them to miss vital information in the classroom or get in the way of normal social interactions.

I hate it,” an anonymous student said. “I have control over my phone usage and should not be punished because others don’t.”  

Another said, “It is just another way for another company to make money.  I feel like it is too expensive for the gain we get out of it.”

Not all students are opposed, however. “I think Yondr is a necessary evil that we need in classrooms,” said a different student. “When I first heard about Yondr, I was not excited. At first I thought this was unfair that my phone was going to be taken away from me, but now I don’t think it is so bad.”

Another said, “I think that Yondr is helping me. I don’t have as much as an urge to quickly turn over my phone if there is a lull in class. Instead I stay focused and continue thinking about the topic at hand.”

When asked their thoughts, teachers using the device commented that they liked the device, and they haven’t had any problems with students.

A downside to this device is a lack of communication when the phone is in the pouch, but so far that hasn’t been a problem.

“As of [October 4th], no students have had problems with not being able to access their phones. Parents are not complaining about not having a direct link to their child. They are supporting Yondr.” Mr. Kane reported.

Yondr has a special deal with schools. According to The Denver Post, Yondr sells each pouch for two US Dollars. A class set of 40 Yondr Pouches is only 80 US Dollars. Other performers spend around 10,000 US Dollars on the pouches to make sure the fans have come to enjoy the moment.

And there isn’t a way to exploit this case without damaging it. The case is mostly squishy except at the top where the case closes. Once the case is locked, the two stiff flaps feel like they are sewn together.

Also, between the flaps and where the phone sits, there is a little hole, so users can charge their phone or identify it if needed.

Though now piloting classes are seeing these cases being broken so that they do not lock correctly now.

So it is unknown at this time if Yondr pouches will definitely be used in more classes in coming years.