The Great EdTech Debate: Episode 5 – Should Cellphones be Banned in the Classroom?

In this weeks debate, our ECI830 class discussed if cellphones should be banned from the classroom. It was an especially important topic this week, because this was the debate topic that my partner Alyssa and I chose to debate about. We both agreed that cellphones should not be banned from the classroom, and here is why….. 


PreVote: Agree 47.8%, Disagree 52.2%


Before we discuss our viewpoints on why cellphones should not be banned from the classroom, we want to acknowledge the great work that our opponents Jill and Tarina did.  They brought up a lot of valid arguments as to why cellphones should be banned from the classroom, including:

  • Cellphones are Distractions
  • School Devices are Safer
  • Cellphones increase negative behaviour 
  • Detachment from Personal Device 

As a rebuttal to these reasons we stated that:

  1. Distractions are still going to take place in the classroom whether this is on cellphone or otherwise.  We are living in a society where we are pushing for people to collaborate with each other in order to problem solve. A student who is not focused in the classroom will find a method to be distracted, regardless if we ban cellphones or not.   
  2. When looking at how cellphones increase negative behavior, this type of behaviour such as cyber-bullying can include on other types of devices such as iPads and even school Chromebooks.  By not allowing cellphones into the classroom we do not give students the opportunity to learn how to properly engage with them. A classroom is a safe space, where students can make mistakes and learn from them.   
  3. The solution is to teach students how to use cellphones positively for educational purposes. This would also strengthen the relationships with students.  Not only is it our job as educator to teach the curriculum, but it is also important for us to teach the hidden curriculum. We need to teach digital citizenship to students so they are able to interact appropriately and effectively in the digital world.  Cause lets face it, we are currently living in a digital world.



To begin, the first problem with the question “Should cellphones be banned from the classroom” was that we disagreed with the terminology of the word ban.  We felt as though banning cellphones was only trying to eliminate a problem, rather than solving the problem.  Instead, we support the term restricted.  One of the methods that we discussed to do this involved the stoplight method. What is funny is that before we had the opportunity to discuss this method, Alec was already ahead of us, sharing his own experiences of it in classrooms. During the conversation, Michala also pointed out at the school she teaches at, she finds that cellphones have given students a place to communicate and connect.  

Other points that we had to encourage the use of cellphones in the classroom are:

  • Emergency Situations 
  • Medical Purposes
  • Educational Purposes 
  • Special Needs 
  • Digital Citizenship 

Watch the video for more explanations behind these points that support cellphone use in the classroom.


PostVote: Agree 9.1%, Disagree 90.9%


What should take place in classrooms are restrictions not bans on cellphone use.   During our research, we came across an article regarding thee Dr. Alec Couros, and his experience over the years of watching schools implement a  “bring-your-own-device” policy to fill in gaps and encourage more responsibility.  To ban cellphones is to put students’ lives at risk, limit the abilities of students with special needs, rob students of engaging and purposely learning experiences and leave students unprepared to live in an ever-evolving technological global world. 

Understanding skills related to how to act appropriately around other people face to face such as being polite, kind,and fair are just as important for students to understand when communicating in a digital setting.  According to common sense media teens spend an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes on their phones and tweens those aged 8-12 are not far behind.  This is why rather than banning cellphones from the classroom, we need to allow them in the classroom where we can teach students how to use them appropriately. As educators it is our job to educate students how to properly use cellphones, in a safe space, where they aren’t afraid to make a mistake and where they can learn vital life skills that will help them to be successful in today’s digital age. 

To conclude, we are disagree to a ban of cellphones in the classroom, but agree that there do need to be restrictions of cellphone use in the classroom that are monitored by the teacher.   DON’T MAKE A BAN, HAVE A PLAN.  

Below is the full ECI830 debate regarding the topic of if cellphones should be banned from the classroom. Enjoy


3 thoughts on “The Great EdTech Debate: Episode 5 – Should Cellphones be Banned in the Classroom?

  1. Pingback: Should Cell Phones Be Banned From the Classroom? – Alyssa Mckenzie's Blog

  2. Pingback: Should Cellphones Be Banned in the Classroom? – My Digital Learning Journey

  3. Pingback: Openness and sharing in schools are unfair to our kids | Altan Husile

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