Victoria middle school will ban cellphones at school starting in September

CBC News Posted: May 16, 2017 2:00 PM PT Last Updated: May 16, 2017 2:00 PM PT

Students should be taught to manage new technology, including social media, and not be banned from it, says University of Montreal professor Thierry Karsenti. (AP Photo/Paul Sakura)

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A professor who specializes in technology and education says Victoria Central Middle School’s cellphone ban won’t make a significant difference.

Central Middle School principal Topher Macintosh said the school — which has students from Grade 6 to 8 — currently allows students to bring cellphones to school as long as they are kept in their lockers.

Macintosh says more often than not, students would simply sneak off to their lockers during a bathroom break and use their phones during class time.

Starting in September, he says all students will be prohibited from bringing cellphones into the building.

But Thierry Karsenti, a professor at the University of Montreal and the Canada Research Chair on information and communication technologies in education, says the ban won’t work.

“They were already not allowed to bring it to class and they brought it to class,” he said.

“I think they’ll still bring them to school.”


Education is key

Karsenti, who has conducted research on cellphone use in schools, says students have a very tough time managing cellphone use.

“Only 12 per cent of the 4,000 participants in our study said they do not use it in class. In all the schools that we surveyed, they had similar rules [banning cell phone use],” he said.

Karsenti said while cellphone use is a difficult, challenging issue for schools, it’s important to remember students in middle school are very young and need guidance on how to use and manage new technology.

He described one teacher in his study who knew students were bringing their phones to class, despite the rules banning them.

“He was asking students to bring it and put it upside down on their desk [on silent] but he was also using it at times to search on the Internet for some information or if they had to respond to a question using their cell phones. He was giving the idea to kids that it’s also a tool to learn at school.”

This is a more effective method of managing cellphone use than an outright ban, he said.

“Education should be the key.”

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1 Comment

  • #1 by Brad on May 16, 2017 - 11:19 pm

    Teens that graduate and get their first job are bringing cell phones to WORK. This is a MAJOR problem. I work in retail and almost ALL the people 18 to 25 are using cell phones DURING their WORK HOURS to read Facebook or text their friends. If schools keep sending us kids that think its acceptable to IGNORE YOUR WORK, just as they did in School, our society will continue to have new workers that DONT DO ANY WORK, just look at their phones all day. Some employers don’t realize how bad this is, but sooner or later these kids will get FIRED. Wake up Parents, get them educated first, so they can learn what “your full attention” really means. I am tired of working with kids that do not pay attention to their Job. They are not paid to have fun on phones. They can do that elsewhere. If I was in charge of firing them, I would.

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