In 2015, New York City lifted a 10 year ban on public school students bringing mobile devices into the classroom. This ban had been implemented in 2005 by then Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. When Bill De Blasio took over the reigns, he fulfilled his campaign promise of lifting the mobile phone ban as he believed that parents should be able to call and text their children.
The topic of banning mobile phones in the classroom has been highly debated over the last few years, with schools in countries such as the USA, France, Canada and Australia arguing for and against. Just very recently, the state’s Education Minister announced that mobile phones will be banned for all students at state primary and secondary schools in Victoria. This ban will be implemented from first term in 2020. Two of the reasons for this ban; to help reduce distraction and to improve learning outcomes for students. In the case of an emergency, parents will be required to contact the school directly.
Parents and teachers have raised a number of concerns time and time again regarding the use of mobile phones in the classroom, stating that students are constantly unfocussed. By applying this ban, it is expected that teachers will be able to teach and students will be able to learn. Students will be required to keep their mobile phones in their lockers from the first to final bell. A number of private and independent schools have already implemented a ban on mobile phones in the classroom and have reported that students are much more attentive in their learning without the electronic distraction.
The public response has been mixed with many supporting the ban, while others are against it. Those who support it have stated that it’s about time that this ban has been implemented and that it’s the right thing to do. Those who are against it have mentioned that mobile phones are helpful tools in teaching or that their children rely on their phones to organise their day and when assignments are due. As mentioned above, this debate is not only restricted to Victoria or Australia, it’s global. French schools have banned mobile phones in the classroom and provinces in Canada are looking at doing the same.
What are your thoughts on eliminating mobile phones in the classroom? Do you think that Victoria will be successful by implementing this ban or do you think the result will be similar to New York City in a few years’ time?
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