Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
IT | By Lester Massey

Cellphones to be banned in classrooms beginning in September

Cellphones to be banned in classrooms beginning in September

"Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning - not their cellphones", Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement.

Some boards have already grappled with curbing student cellphone use during the school day, including Toronto, which later opted to leave the decision up to teachers.

The provincial government is set to ban cell phones from classrooms - and many students in Windsor-Essex are not impressed. "We will be making a formal announcement in the near future".

"Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning, and not their cell phones", she said in a written statement Tuesday, March 12.

"I don't want to bring my electronics to school because, if it gets stolen or if it breaks, I don't want to be responsible for that", says Matteo Daher.

"The notion that teachers are simply allowing inappropriate cellphone use at the moment is incorrect", he said.

The board previously admitted that enforcing a complete ban was almost impossible, and indicated that limiting the use of technology in the classroom would consequently restrict educational opportunities. How the ban will be enforced will remain under the jurisdiction of individual educational boards and schools.

A 2015 London School of Economics and Political Science paper found that "student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases" with a ban on mobile phones. The researcher for the Alberta Teachers Association said he doesn't think a ban will work. However, since students still used cellphones in class, as of 2018, France implemented a nationwide ban on student cellphone use in primary, elementary, and middle school, or for students aged 6 to about 15.

The government said teachers and parents overwhelmingly supported banning cellphone use during telephone town halls and surveys conducted last fall, in which 97 per cent of the 35,000 respondents advocated for the move.

Spokesman Ryan Bird said the TDSB encourages appropriate uses of technology in classrooms.

Some in the education field have said the new policy really doesn't change much as teachers haven't been allowing inappropriate use of phones in class. These improvements were mostly demonstrated among the students who were typically "low achieving".

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