Cell phones will soon belong to a list of Bad Things not allowed in the classroom, like drugs and guns.
Education Minister Lisa Thompson yesterday alluded to a ban on mobile devices in Ontario classrooms. The policy will be implemented starting this school year, in September.
“Ontario’s students need to be able to focus on their learning – not their cellphones,” she wrote in a statement. “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.” A formal announced is expected soon.
Assuming that every student in the province is armed with a cell phone, that’s more than two million cell phones out of our kids’ hands and where they belong: in pockets and backpacks, causing anxiety over missed notifications.
Exceptions will be made, of course. These include instances where cell phone use is essential to the lesson at hand, for medical reasons, and for students with special needs. It will also be up to individual boards and schools to enforce the ban. It’s hard to argue with that approach given how prevalent – and at times essential – cell phones have become in our lives. The goal shouldn’t be to cut off access to information, but rather to teach students how to best filter and analyze.
“Students need to be discerning digital citizens and opportunities should be provided within the curriculum to allow students to safely explore various uses and risks of technology in an intentionally guided and supportive environment,” wrote the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association.