Decision to allow or ban phones best left to teacher, says Superintendent

Among the many back-to-school debates making its annual appearance, this week is one which goes to the use of mobile phones in the classroom.

The BC Teachers Federation has decided to back the Ministry of Education policy, which leaves the final usage decision up to individual school districts.

Central Okanagan Superintendent Hugh Gloster says technology, such as phones, must always enhance learning, and students must be equipped with all the skills required to cope with future challenges.

Peace River North Superintendent Dave Sloan suggests, generally speaking, District 60 leaves the final decision to those who must ultimately deal with the sometimes conflicting study advantages, and potential classroom distractions and disciplinary problems: The teacher.

“We are committed to using technology to further educational aims. Cell phones fall under that category, but its larger up the the discretion each school and each classroom teacher to decide how that technology is going to be accessed.” Sloan said.

However he acknowledges it is an on-going issue.

“That’s a pretty powerful computing tool that they’ve got, if they have one of the latest generations of smart phones.  It can be used to help them, or it can get them into a world of trouble.”

District 60 has a joint technology advisory committee with members from the BCTF, CUPE and the Administration, which has been addressing it now for about half a decade.