Using mobile devices in schools
It has become increasingly more difficult and impractical to implement an absolute ban on mobile devices in schools, as they are not only indispensable in young people’s lives, but many parents also insist that they should be able to reach their children at all times. It is also important to note that they can an excellent resource to support learning. Though the presence of mobile phones and other devices can be disruptive and lead to disruptive behaviour such as cheating and bullying, they can also be offer unprecedented opportunities when used proactively and creatively in the classroom as long as a strict policy on their possession and use is in place.
- Consider how mobile devices can be incorporated (more) constructively in the classroom.
- Your school policy should include rules on the carrying and use of mobile phones (and other portable devices) by staff and pupils; ensure that this is consistently applied throughout the school. The policy should at least answer the following questions:
- When is the use of mobile phones (and other portable devices) on school grounds permitted / prohibited?
- Is it permitted to use photo and video applications, and under which conditions can the resulting photo or film be published?
- Where should mobile devices be kept during class?
- Can pupils access the wifi network of the school with their mobile and other portable devices? How is this managed?
- What type of content can be accessed while using a mobile device in school (e.g. no pornographic or illegal content)?
- What are the consequences of a breach of the mobile device policy?
- Develop within your Acceptable Use Policy a section on how digital technologies can and cannot be used in the classroom.
- Organise regular discussions with the staff and pupils to review the mobile device policy and to discuss actions to be taken when a breach of the policy occurs.
- Inform parents about the school’s mobile device policy, why these measures are taken and what possible consequences a breach of the policy can imply.
- In case of confiscation of a mobile device, the pupil should turn off the device before handing it to the teacher, to ensure the protection of the private data on the device. If the device is not returned at the end of the school day, parents should be informed and the mobile device should be kept in a secure place.
- If students are allowed to access the school’s wifi network using their mobile devices, this should be a different network from the secure one used for staff/core business.