Tech in the classroom is still contentious

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The end isn’t in sight for cellphones in the classroom. Maybe, that’s not such a bad thing. 

A recent article in The National Post states that “cellphones have become fixtures in Canadian classrooms.” But rather than banning them, going forward the article poses that the most productive conversation may be how to use them to students’ advantage. 

An outright ban on anything, let alone a ban on technology, has never been a sure-fire way to ensure its non-use. Students are still going to find a way to text their friends in class, the only difference is that the same device won’t be used for educational purposes. 

By banning cellphones, we’re not teaching proper technological literacy — we’re just trying to ignore it. Blaming the technology, not the person misusing it, isn’t an effective way of moving forward.  

But while the Post article gives the impression that the argument about banning cellphones is over, there’s no shortage of things to argue about, such as whether their presence really is taking away from the quality of education. 

While some schools may shy away from a ban because it’d be difficult to enforce, that doesn’t mean it’s not serving a purpose. 

Even when used for educational purposes, young students — who’ve become normalized to technology in every aspect of their lives — can still find ways to use it as an unhealthy distraction from the information being taught and the teacher at the front of the classroom. 

Every new generation is becoming increasingly acclimatized to technology in everyday life. But educators don’t necessarily have to bend to meet these demands — their job is to teach, with or without cellphones. 

Plus, the divide between cellphones and other devices such as laptops and tablets is dwindling. You can text on a laptop and you can write notes up on 

a cellphone. If a classroom bans cellphones, that’d realistically need to include all devices for it to serve the purpose. 

Perhaps we must resign ourselves to technology’s presence in every student’s hand and try to figure out how to use it most effectively. The only other alternative is to commit to a ban. 

But with technology as such a presence in our lives, the debate about its place in schools isn’t one we can ignore. 

Journal Editorial Board 

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