Cellphones in class: Alberta won't follow Ontario's ban

A young girl holds a cellphone in this file

Would you be for or against a cellphone ban in schools across Western New York?

Some schools already have similar policies, but the province will issue a directive to all public schools for the 2019-20 school year.

"The notion that teachers are simply allowing inappropriate cellphone use at the moment is incorrect", he said.

Alberta Education Minister David Eggan said the province will leave it up to teachers and school boards to make their own decisions.

"It just literally made it so that teachers and principals and vice-principals were spending so much time enforcing the ban or attempting to enforce the ban, taking away phones, coming up with appropriate consequences, it just became completely unmanageable", he told CBC's Mainstreet.

"Beginning next school year, cellphones will no longer be allowed in the classroom unless they are required for educational purposes, health, and medical purposes, or to support special needs", says Thompson.

Ontario's Minister of Education has confirmed her government plans to introduce a ban on cell phones in the classroom soon.

The PCs did propose the ban when they were campaigning a year ago.

"I think we really need to think progressively about this and say, 'OK, this technology is here, it's real". The researcher for the Alberta Teachers Association said he doesn't think a ban will work.

"When the school day starts, the phones go off", one senior government source said.

The Ontario provincial government conducted consultations on the cellphone ban previous year, with 97 percent of respondents favoring some sort of restriction on phones in class, according to Thompson.

Among the feedback sent to the ministry of education, educators complained that phones were not only a distraction but that students were also using them to cheat and share unflattering photographs of teachers on social media. The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving. "We've got a lot of classrooms where students are actually provided with Chrome books and iPads and those kinds of things", said Fields.

According to the study's findings, "this suggests that restricting mobile phone use can be a low-priced policy to reduce educational inequalities".

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