No cellphones in the classroom

Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms

Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms

Ontario elementary and secondary school students won't be allowed to bring their cellphones into classrooms, Education Minister Lisa Thompson has announced.

The formal announcement of the ban is expected in the near future.

"By banning cellphone use that distracts from learning, we are helping students to focus on acquiring the foundational skills they need, like reading, writing and math", she added.

While there are some limited cases in the province of phones being banned in classrooms, the new directive extends to all schools in the province. Exemptions include lesson plans that integrate phones and for students with medical and/or special needs.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) abandoned a cellphone ban policy back in 2011 after officials determined that it was next to impossible to enforce. "How do we maximize the benefit of it from a teaching and learning perspective?'" he said.

"It could be a good thing, but also a bad thing", says grade 9 student Laura Newman.

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In Ontario, enforcing the ban will be up to individual boards and schools.

While Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner agrees that cellphones can be a distraction, he is critical of what he describes as the government's "top-down regulation" approach.

As Ontario schools prepare for a blanket ban on cellphones during class time, the Alberta government says they're not going to follow suit. Can we prevent students from using these in the classroom? "Students have learned about ensuring positive digital citizenship and creating personal digital footprints".

The ban follows government conducted education consultations past year, in which 97 per cent of respondents stated they favoured restrictions on phones in class. Results found that 97 per cent of respondents wanted some sort of control over cellphone use in class.

As the Ontario government is looking at banning cellphones in schools, some people are on the fence about whether or not an outright ban is the way to go.

Although the Toronto District School Board had previously implemented a cellphone ban, it was reversed four years after its introduction to allow teachers to decide how to best manage cellphone use in their classrooms.

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