Making smart phones work for you and your students

Written by Elizabeth Lonergan

Increasing numbers of schools are using a blanket ban on smart phone use to address increasing concerns with cyberbullying and social media use. But is this the answer? As leaders and teachers, is it not our role to model behaviours and teach our students of what is acceptable and respectful in society.

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Historically blanket bans have proven to be an ineffective strategy and hence banning the use of smart phones to address the issue of bullying is not the answer. This will simply shift the bullying timeline so it occurs outside of school, and in a forum that is far more difficult to regulate and in a place where support structures may not be available. Is this addressing the concern? Not at all. It is simply shifting the behaviours out of our ‘direct sight’.

So, what is the answer?

Educating and modelling appropriate smart phone use is far more beneficial to developing acceptable societal behaviours as respectful young learners. We want our students to be meeting the technological demands of today’s world and smart phones can aid in achieving this goal. If utilised effectively, smart phones can provide a valuable resource to support and deepen learning. They allow our students to reflect, create and explore learning; to become consumers and producers of their own learning; to build knowledge and to develop essential skills.

We, as educators are in a position to guide, model and support our students. We have an opportunity to develop protocols and behaviours which can support our students to be respectful users of smart technology. Behaviours which will translate into the real world and into adulthood.

Please join me in Melbourne at the National Education Summit - Digital Classroom conference where we will take this topic further in the hands-on workshops. Go to

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