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Despite Proposed Ban, Figuring Out Ways to Positively Use Cellphones Still Possible

While the ban has yet to be made official, that hasn’t stopped the reaction from pouring in, including from the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and North Hastings High School.

“We are committed to developing globally minded learners and leaders, which includes becoming digitally fluent,” Communications Officer Kerry Donnell tells My Bancroft Now. “This means students are able to effectively use multiple technologies and be responsible in creating and sharing information with others.”

North Hastings High School Principal Wayne Stewart says they’re in a “holding pattern” right now because they are still waiting to see how this proposal is rolled out by the province. “We don’t want this to be a hindrance to students, but we know that there are many students out there that aren’t paying full attention to what they should be because they are distracted by social media,” he explains. He says some students do use their phones in a positive way like as a calculator or for work on assignments with apps like Google Docs.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson said earlier this month that the proposed ban would take effect for the 2019-20 school year. It would be up to individual school boards and schools to make a decision on how to enforce the ban.

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Donnell says elementary and secondary schools – including North Hastings High School – currently have across to school board provided mobile devices like Chromebooks. “It’s much easier to ensure that Chromebooks are being used in an appropriate manner than a cellphone,” Stewart says. The school also has three computer labs for students to use. “Appropriate use of cell phones facilitated by an educator can support student learning,” Donnell adds. “It’s important to keep in mind that a key part of having mobile devices in classrooms is learning how to use them in safe and responsible ways,” she continues.

“Just like anything, there’s a time and place and they can be used as a part of a balanced educational program,” Stewart says.

An official announcement on the proposed cellphone ban has yet to be made by the province.

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