Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms

Alfred Osborne
March 14, 2019

Many districts have already instituted bans, but this edict would apply to all public schools across the province.

And the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) even used to have a ban on cellphones, but lifted the ban in 2011 after student trustees argued that technology had become a pervasive part of student life, CBC reports.

Starting in September, Ontario students will still be able to bring cellphones to school, but won't be allowed to take them out in class.

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.

According to government sources, there would be some exceptions, like if a teacher wanted to use phones for their lesson, for medical reasons and for students with special needs.

The Ford government plans to ban the devices as of next school year in classrooms across the province. The researcher for the Alberta Teachers Association said he doesn't think a ban will work.

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"They're good technology and can be used for educational purposes", says Fields.

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

Education consultation surveys from past year suggested that approximately 97 percent of respondents supported some form of restriction on phones in class, according to the government sources.

"We use technology quite effectively in our classrooms as much as we possibly can".

"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". These improvements were mostly demonstrated among the students who were typically "low achieving". "We've got a lot of classrooms where students are actually provided with Chrome books and iPads and those kinds of things", said Fields.

"This suggests that restricting mobile phone use can be a low-priced policy to reduce educational inequalities", the study found.

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