Alberta won't follow Ontario's ban — Cellphones in class

Joanna Estrada
March 14, 2019

According to The Canadian Press, the provincial government is planning to announce this week its intention to ban cellphones from Ontario classrooms. "We will be making a formal announcement in the near future".

"Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning - not their cellphones", read the statement.

At the Greater Essex County District School Board, Superintendent of Education John Howitt said his board has had procedures in place for the use of personal electronic devices since 2010.

The B.C. Teachers Federation does not have a specific policy or position on cell phones or tablets in classrooms. I have a kid at a school where they can't use cellphones.

The change will come into effect this fall.

"We think that teachers have a handle on their classrooms already", Arthur said.

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. "Students have learned about ensuring positive digital citizenship and creating personal digital footprints". "During this consultation, we heard that 97% of respondents support some form of a ban on cellphones".

Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms
Ontario Government Set to Ban All Cellphones from Classrooms This Fall

Ministry of education officials, speaking on background, said students wouldn't be expected to lock up their phones and while enforcement will be hard, it will be left up to school boards.

The Conservatives had proposed the ban during last year's election campaign.

"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", the association wrote.

The Toronto District School Board used to have a cellphone ban, but reversed it after four years to let teachers dictate what works best for their classrooms.

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

Instead, McRae said schools should be helping students find a healthy balance for their cellphone use.

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. These improvements were mostly demonstrated among the students who were typically "low achieving".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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