The Ontario provincial government has opted to ban cellphones in classrooms beginning in September 2019. There are many points of view on this subject and I’ve been reading through many of the opinions.
I think that phones are a distraction in classrooms but can also be a tool. Being a proponent of ed tech, I really want to think of a Utopian classroom where phones are used for good and not for evil. Hearing from a seasoned teacher in this Huffington Post article, you would have to sympathize with the disruptions she sees everyday in her classroom. But if students had a useful conversation with her about what it means to have their phones in class, doesn’t this mean that some compromise can be made.
Given how almost every student has a phone, can it be used as a tool in some classrooms?
A discussion about being unplugged for certain classes may have buy in from students to see what it is like. It gives them a new experience away from the minute to minute updates from their phones.
I think we have to be realistic with students, talking about what having a phone in the workplace looks like and what the expectations and etiquette about phone use is in different environments. Talk about how having a phone is also a tool that can be used for research purposes and for homework. Ignoring the presence of phones in the lives of students is not realistic. Talking about digital citizenship and phone etiquette along with using phones as research tools is realistic and may be a wonderful way to educate students about when to use and not use their phones.