Experts say ‘no’ to banning phones in classrooms

The issue of phones in classrooms seems to be a trigger-point for many parents.

As a trigger-point it often has little logic applied to it – for example, one common thread in discussions is that kids shouldn’t be have phones in class, but, in complete counterpoint, parents should be able to call their kids when needed. The issue is hard to deal with partly because it is tangled up with other issues; for a start – teacher quality and discipline, cyber-bullying, fear of technology, just not liking change. Further complication is added because people generally refer to ‘schools’ not differentiating primary and secondary schools, which in this context are clearly very different things. It’s also hard to deal with because there is little evidence to back up the variegated opinions.

I’ve made my own view clear on several occasions, for example Why we encourage phones at the dinner table (and teachers should in class)Let’s ban mobile phones in class and return to steam trains while we’re at it. However, the following article from The Conversation is interesting because it canvasses the opinions of several experts on the issue…


We asked five experts: should mobile phones be banned in schools?

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We should teach students how to use technology appropriately, rather than banning it.

Sophie Heizer, The Conversation

NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes has ordered a review into phone use in schools. He said the review would look at the risks and rewards of social media. The review will ultimately decide whether to ban mobile phones in NSW schools.

Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg also recently said he believed mobile phone-related distraction is a main reason for Australia sliding down in PISA rankings.

Parents and teachers have similar concerns about cyberbullying and safety, as well as technology distracting from schoolwork. But do the benefits of having phones in classrooms (such as contact with parents, access to mental health text lines, and learning opportunities) outweigh the risks?

We asked five experts if schools should ban mobile phones in classrooms.

Four out of five experts said no

Here are their detailed responses:

If you have a “yes or no” education question you’d like posed to Five Experts, email your suggestion to: [email protected]

The ConversationDisclosures: Matthew Kearney receives funding from the ARC and Erasmus+.

Sophie Heizer, Commissioning Editor, Education, The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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