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Kingston residents, students react to cellphone ban in Ontario schools

14 March 2019

Over the past number of years, school boards across the province have been using more technology to teach, and Fields said his board is no exception.

Thompson says an official announcement on the policy will be coming out soon and the government will issue a directive to all school boards that's set to take effect in September.

This proposed regulation will strictly prohibit the use of cellphones during instructional periods.

How to enforce the ban would be up to individual boards and schools.

Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning - not their cellphones, ' said provincial Education Minister Lisa Thompson.

"Teachers have developed classroom management strategies that incorporate their supervised use during instruction", the council said in a statement. The researcher for the Alberta Teachers Association said he doesn't think a ban will work.

"Obviously for emergency purposes, for medical purposes and for specific courses that require technological platforms - they'd be permissible", Progressive Conservative MPP Stephen Lecce told CTV News Toronto.

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

Cellphones, she said, are often used in classrooms to gauge student readiness, for educational purposes, including taking photos for presentations, and to assist students with learning needs.

The Tory government conducted education consultations a year ago, and while input on the sex-education curriculum dominated headlines, feedback was also gathered on a potential classroom cellphone ban.

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

"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. These improvements were mostly demonstrated among the students who were typically "low achieving". "It was the closest thing we got in our consultation to unanimity", one source commented to The Canadian Press.

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

Kingston residents, students react to cellphone ban in Ontario schools