Tuesday, 21 May, 2019


‘Distraction to learning’: Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms

‘Distraction to learning’: Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms ‘Distraction to learning’: Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms
Melba Vasquez | 16 March, 2019, 01:11

NDP MPP Ian Arthur said his party supports the idea in general but teachers and school boards now have the power to ban cellphones.

Earlier that day, Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson confirmed the province is planning to ban cellphones in elementary and secondary school classrooms in September. About 97 percent of respondents said they would support some form of a ban on cellphones.

British Columbia does not have a provincial policy on cellphone use in classrooms, so schools set their own rules.

At the Greater Essex County District School Board, Superintendent of Education John Howitt said his board has had procedures in place for the use of personal electronic devices since 2010.

"We're certainly not anxious about cellphones being used for instructional purposes - that's a really great thing", she said.

WECDSB spokesperson Stephen Fields tells CTV Windsor, the planned cell phone ban and continued educational use aren't necessarily in conflict.

For example, in Canada's capital, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has an Appropriate Use of Technology policy.

"It was the closest thing we got in our consultation to unanimity", one source said.

The school board does have policies within schools and classrooms to moderate phone use, but Davidson says it's important to have a conversation with student about when it's okay to use cell phones, instead of outright banning them.

Starting this fall, Ontario students won't be able to bring their cellphones to class unless teachers are using them for educational reasons.

The ban comes on the heels of a public consultation conducted a year ago.

"We think that teachers have a handle on their classrooms already", Arthur said.

The move was praised by many, but some say the ban is antiquated and a missed opportunity to teach children about responsible technology use.

"Schools and teachers have well established limits and boundaries with regard to cellphone use in schools and the classroom, similar to other classroom expectations, which are designed to create positive learning environments". The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving.

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