This past Friday the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario voted to ban the use of cell phone in classrooms. According to CBC news:
The new rules state that mobile devices should be turned off and stored during school hours, unless special permission is given.
Justification for such a ban was set forth on the union’s website in April of this year.
“A province-wide ban on cellphones and other personal electronic devices would do a great deal to support teaching and learning in our classrooms,” said ETFO President Emily Noble.
Noble stressed that cellphones and other personal electronic devices have no place in Ontario classrooms. “They disrupt classes, distract students and can lead to cyber bullying and harassment of school staff and students,” she said.
Every generation of parents and educators gets to wrestle with the pros and cons of new tech toys and what limits should be set. (My mother would insist the radio must be off while doing homework, while I argued it was only too easy to listen to music and finish that task at the same time.)
For some reason this topic has generated a spurt of recent coverage. Monday’s edition of The Takeway with John Hockenberry had a segment on a summer camp that tries to teach good tech balance. (This is detailed further in a story by WYNC.)
Here’s a look at three new books on the topic of children and their relations hip to technology by Dwight Garner in the New York Times: “Resisting the Siren Call of the Screen – 3 books Offer Ways to Cut the Cord, If Only Briefly“.
The books discussed are: The Distraction Addiction by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang; The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner-Adair with Teresa H. Barker and The App Generation by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis. (Note: not the Katie Davis that has done reporting for NPR.)
Many of the reader’s comments that followed the NYT article argued this is a problem that needs to be solved by engaged parents who have a good relationship with technology and family life themselves – and not every parent stands ready to lead by example.
Where do you come down on getting the tech/life balance right in your life and in the lives of children?