More schools move to in­cor­po­rate cell­phones

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

Re­searchers and ed­u­ca­tors agree that cell­phones have be­come fix­tures in Cana­dian class­rooms, but opin­ion re­mains di­vided on how best to ad­dress their pres­ence.

All agree that the pres­ence of smart­phones can be prob­lem­atic if stu­dents are al­lowed to de­vote more at­ten­tion to their screens than their stud­ies.

One re­search pa­per sug­gests the ma­jor­ity of schools are still treat­ing cell­phones as a scourge and ban­ning the de­vices out­right both in and out of class.

But that study and a grow­ing num­ber of boards say they’ve had more suc­cess once de­cid­ing to stop fight­ing the tech­no­log­i­cal tide and find ways to in­cor­po­rate cell­phones into schools.

Canada’s largest school board re­versed a fouryear ban on cell­phones and now lets teach­ers dic­tate what works best for their class­rooms, while a board in Que­bec has gone so far as to dis­trib­ute tablets to all stu­dents in Grade 5 and up while main­tain­ing a per­mis­sive smart­phone pol­icy.

Re­searchers say these ap­proaches work best, but add it’s es­sen­tial to have guide­lines in place around the use of tech­nol­ogy.

Thierry Karsenti, Canada Re­search Chair on Tech­nolo­gies in Ed­u­ca­tion and pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Mon­treal, said stu­dents will find a way to bring phones into the class­room re­gard­less of the rules.

A sur­vey of more than 4,000 high school stu­dents found that 79.3 per cent of re­spon­dents owned a cell­phone.

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