Original article written by Dominique RussellSummarized by Nele Ponce
With the proliferation of mobile devices across the globe having vast impacts on students’ academic life,
there seems to be a lack of consensus among different establishments about how their use should be controlled.
France, in particular, enforced a total ban on mobile phone usage among students up to the age of 15. To be implemented across the country in September, the ban will allow students to bring their phones to and from school, but requires that they do not use their phones during class and over lunch breaks. Australia, however, allows its schools to set their own guidelines for mobile phone use.
Willoughbury High School in New South Wales, for instance, has adopted similar policies as those of France, implementing a total ban on phones during school hours unless a teacher permits it to be used as a learning aid. Reviewing much evidence from recent research and relevant anecdotes, including teachers’
experiences, the school leadership team gained overwhelming support from parents at the parents meeting.
Elizabeth Diprose, the school principal, claims that there are four fundamental reasons for their decision to limit mobile phone use: social interaction among students, cyber safety, the need for down time, and encouraging general courtesy and student engagement with the world around them. Diprose notes that the
students are also generally compliant and understanding about the reasons for these policies.
John Monash Science School in Melbourne, in stark contrast, wholly encourages the use of mobile devices as learning tools and finds their use beneficial for the students’ education. In fact, Head of Science Mark McTier explains how students are required to bring a computer and an additional device, like a tablet or phone. He explains, “Students use their phones to take simple notes, set reminders, for
video analyses, take photos of notes or instructions on whiteboards.”
McTier further describes how students are able to benefit from their devices when doing various scientific experiments. That is, students are more accurately able to capture, measure, analyze their data by connecting their devices to sophisticated data-logging software. At the same time that the students are responsible for correctly updating, charging, and managing their phones, the John Monash Science School and the Department of Education nevertheless maintain strict expectations from students in view of their digital privileges.