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Hamilton trustee calls for new guidelines for mobile devices in the classroom

A Hamilton school trustee says the current board guidelines on devices in the classroom are four years old and need to be updated.
A Hamilton school trustee says the current board guidelines on devices in the classroom are four years old and need to be updated. AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File

A Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board trustee wants a full review of how iPads and personal mobile devices are used in the classroom.

Trustee Dawn Danko says the devices should be used as tools, not toys.  She adds she isn’t “a doomsday naysayer” on technology, but something needs to be in place to give a clear expectation for schools and for administrators.

READ MORE: Debate grows over using smartphones, social media in classrooms

She says the current board guidelines are four years old and need to be updated.

Danko says if a device is allowed in a class she’d “like to see a framework or policy structure that stipulates it’s supervised teacher-led use of devices.”

LISTEN: Dawn Danko joins the Bill Kelly Show on CHML

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She says it’s also about teaching healthy habits.

“There’s a time to look at your phone and check your texts and there’s a time to focus on the work that we’re doing,” Danko says.

WATCH: Are young kids with smartphones more susceptible to cyberbullying?

Click to play video: 'Are young kids with smartphones more susceptible to cyberbullying?' Are young kids with smartphones more susceptible to cyberbullying?
Are young kids with smartphones more susceptible to cyberbullying? – Sep 19, 2017

She says “that is where we have an opportunity to really teach students how to responsibly use devices and how to use them for the right purpose: to use them as a tool and not a toy.”

The board’s associate education director, Peter Sovran, says staff is already scheduled to review the board’s 21st-century learning and technology policy in February.

He says they will then draft proposed new guidelines that will go to the board later in the year.

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