To start our year all our Jr. High students signed a ‘Responsible Use Agreement’ concerning the use of technology. As our year has proceeded, we have noticed an increased use of smartphones for non-educational uses. Therefore, the Jr. High and Grade 6 teachers have decided to implement a new phone policy called ‘Away During the Day.’ This policy requires that during class time, all students must keep their phones in their lockers. Phones are not allowed in the classroom. Students are allowed to have their phones before school, during the lunch break, and after school as long as they follow the ‘Responsible Use Agreement.’ Here are a few of the reasons for the implementation of ‘Away During the Day’ policy:
- Phones can create an unnecessary distraction in the classroom;
- Phones can remove us socially, intellectually, and emotionally from the here and now and from the people around us;
- Phones can decrease face-to-face connections;
- While the majority of social media can be intentional and positive, it can also cause others to feel left out, judged, anxious, and targeted;
- Phones have the potential to be misused concerning privacy issues (for example live streaming);
- Phones can become an unhealthy addiction.
Students come to school to learn with others. In our connected learning community, we learn from each other in face-to-face interactions.
We are in a technology revolution—something that has changed our society. The challenge is to learn not to let it control us. We adapt and adjust to make improvements when things are not working well. Currently, phones are creating more problems than solutions in our school.
If students decide to bring their phones to the classroom, teachers will confiscate the student phone, and he/she may pick it up from the teacher at the end of the day. An office referral will occur if a student continually breaks the ‘Away During the Day’ policy.
On occasion, teachers may use smartphones as an educational tool. If this occurs, the teacher will give the students instructions on what particular day or class students will be allowed to bring them to class. If this happens, it would be an exception from the ‘Away During the Day’ policy.
We are asking for parents to support ‘Away During the Day’ by only contacting their child by their phone before school, during the noon hour, or after school. If a parent needs to reach their child during class time we are asking them to contact the school office. Likewise, if a student needs to contact their parent during class time, we are asking them to use the office phone.
*Resources modified from http://www.awayfortheday.org