Ontario will be restricting cellphone use in classrooms starting Nov. 4, 2019.
The new rule applies to all personal electronic devices, which include laptops, cellphones, and any device that can be used to access the internet. It also applies to both students and staff during class times. People with special needs and emergency services are exempt from the restrictions.
“When in class, students should be focused on their studies, not their social media,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education in a statement. “That’s why we are restricting cellphones and other personal mobile devices in the classroom, while making sure technology is available to help students achieve success in the digital economy and modern workforce.”
Cellphone notifications frequently distract students from learning. In one experiment, a U.S. teacher recorded more than 1,100 social media alerts in a single period.
A 2014 CIBC poll revealed that Canadians check their cellphones every 10 minutes on average. Unsurprisingly, young adults between 18 to 24 checked almost twice as frequently, glancing at the screen 10.1 times per hour on average.
A 2013 study on cellphone use and academic performance discovered that students who were not using their mobile phones jot down 62 per cent more notes than their peers who were. In addition, the phoneless students were also able to recall more information, and scored a letter grade higher on a multiple-choice test.
In fall 2019, 97 per cent of participants in the consultation on education reform agreed that cellphones use should be restricted in classrooms.
Cellphone use in classrooms is a global issue. The French government banned cellphones in classrooms in July 2018. On June 29, 2019, the Australian state of Victoria also announced a cellphone ban in classrooms.
The new cellphone use guideline is available on Ontario’s Provincial Code of Conduct page.