Sci-tech

Ontario bans cellphones from classroom starting September

Ontario bans cellphones from classroom starting September”

Details of the new policy are expected in an official announcement within the next week. "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".

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.

Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, said it doesn't sound like the policy will differ from what is already happening in schools.

This proposed regulation will strictly prohibit the use of cellphones during instructional periods.

The province says it will be up to individual schools and school boards.

McRae agrees with Alberta's education minister that schools and teachers should be given the opportunity to figure out a balance on their own.

That could mean education cuts, larger class sizes or changes to full-day kindergarten, Stiles suggested. The researcher for the Alberta Teachers Association said he doesn't think a ban will work.

The Green party questioned why a government focused on cutting red tape is introducing "a top-down regulation that complicates things for educators on the front line".

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

"So we're very supportive of schools and teachers setting high expectations in terms of how they're used and we're uncomfortable with them setting expectations in terms of when they want them seen and when they should not be seen, that's reasonable", says Davidson. "Students have learned about ensuring positive digital citizenship and creating personal digital footprints". About 97 per cent of respondents favoured some sort of restriction on phones in class.

The PCs did propose the ban when they were campaigning a year ago.

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.

Cellphones will soon be banned in Ontario classrooms. "I think the teacher should be in control of the technology and so the teacher should be bringing the technology to the classroom".

Davidson says he trusts school and teachers to set rules for what role cell phones play in their classrooms.

In 2015, NY ended its ban on cellphones, giving schools the authority to create their own, in part because parents wanted to be able to contact their children, and it was not equally enforceable. These improvements were mostly demonstrated among the students who were typically "low achieving".



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