Technology researcher says banning phones in classroom won’t work

By Chris Kurys

The Canadian Research Chair on Technology in Education Thierry Karsenti believes a simple ban on cell phone usage in classrooms by the Ontario government will not work.

He told 1310 NEWS there are methods he would rather see implemented.

“There are strategies that have been tested by school districts in Ontario and elsewhere, and we should find ways to look at the problem itself,” he explained.

Those strategies include having a teacher keep a watchful eye on students from the back of class, and having students place their phones in a box as they walk in to a classroom room. Karsenti sees these as more beneficial solutions.

The problem itself, the researcher explained, is that students are not sure when to use their technology. 

Karsenti said he also gets businesses telling him that it's not just students — their employees can't get off their phones either. 

He says the use of technology is still foreign to some people.

“Many of the people don't know how to use technology, don't know when it's proper to use it or when not to use it,” he explained.

Karsenti suggested more education to students on how to properly use technology and more leeway to teachers and school boards to implement a plan. 

He believes the ultimate goal should be to create better citizens.

Cell phones are expected to be banned in Ontario classrooms starting in September. Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement Tuesday that a formal announcement is coming soon.

“Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning – not their cellphones,” she wrote. 

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