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Cellphone ban in Ontario classrooms comes into effect
Katherine DeClerq, CP24.com
Published Sunday, November 3, 2019 3:17PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 4, 2019 3:30PM EST
As of Monday, Ontario students will no longer be able to use their cellphones in classrooms.
The Progressive Conservative government announced back in August that they would be implementing a ban on personal mobile devices inside classrooms or during “instructional time.”
Exceptions to the ban will be made if the devices are required for health and medical purposes, to support special education needs or if an educator says it is necessary for the lesson.
Speaking to CP24 on Sunday, the province’s minister of education said that students, parents, educators and administrators need to “work together to embrace a new culture of learning.”
“Technology is so important in the 21st century when it comes to the modern workforce, I embrace technology, we are going to continue to do so in the classroom, but if it’s not for academic achievement, if it’s not for scholastic purposes, if it’s not instruction based, it’s not going to be in the class,” Stephen Lecce said.
“I want to make sure that kids remain absolutely focused on the subject matter, on learning, and remove the impediments to learning in the class.”
The last few months of the school year were supposed to provide a “sufficient timeframe” for educators and students to prepare for the ban.
The Toronto District School Board abandoned a cellphone ban in 2011 after officials determined it was too difficult to enforce. Lecce has previously said that he hopes a “provincial approach” will be more beneficial.
“Historically, some boards did have this type of restriction, however as with many of the restrictions put in place, or protocols put in place, it was a disjointed approach,” Lecce said in August.
A Toronto-area supply teacher said on Sunday that it is impossible for a teacher to control 30 students who may be looking at their phones in class.
“I think that cellphones can be a good tool for learning, especially for classrooms who are low on technology but I think there needs to be stricter rules in place. It’s incredibly hard for teachers to control what students are doing on their phone unless they are watching each student individuals,” the teacher said.
At the same time, she said that teachers should have more access to technology for their lessons.
“Until then, we have to make sure we have something in place so that students can do their research adequately,” she said. “As long as students are using them for school, I think a lot of teachers are on board.”