Canada province to ban mobile phones in public classrooms

Ontario to ban cellphones in classrooms

Banning cellphones from classrooms is not a new idea, and schools in Toronto have implemented the policy over the past few years. How the ban will be enforced will remain under the jurisdiction of individual educational boards and schools.

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

"We allow cellphones in a classroom when teachers want to use them for instructional purposes and we do have a formal procedure on that so we do recognize the value - a phone is actually a computer - and used quite often by our classroom teachers", Elliott said.

"I think that it's time for the government to take back the power and give it back to the teachers inside the classroom", says Kehoe.

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.

Doug Ford's Tories proposed the ban during last year's election campaign.

Students would be allowed to bring their phones into the classroom, the government said, but usage would be reserved for educational and emergency situations.

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About 97 per cent of respondents favoured some sort of restriction on phones in class, the sources said.

The board previously admitted that enforcing a complete ban was almost impossible, and indicated that limiting the use of technology in the classroom would consequently restrict educational opportunities.

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

"We've always maintained that a student using their own personal devices is good for learning as long as it's not distracting them from their learning and under the guidance of the teacher or staff member in that room", says John Howitt, superintendent of education at GECDSB. The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving.

"We're certainly not anxious about cellphones being used for instructional purposes - that's a really great thing", she said.

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

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