There has been much attention in recent weeks in regards to students and mobile phone use at schools; to ban or not to ban. It is a time of change for teachers and students. Schools are no longer static places of learning where teachers see themselves as the font of all knowledge. Rather, learning happens in a myriad of ways; fast and furious; slow and methodical; rich and varied; intentional and repetitive. We only have to ask a question and soon our thumbs take on a life of their own in search of the answer via Google. We value and accept the place of technology use as a learning tool, as a way of life and as contributor to our understanding of how the world works. So why would schools and governments consider banning mobile phones? The main concern is that of interruption and distraction. Mobile phones (and other digital devices) can be a constant interruption and when students are studying, we know that they need to focus on the task at hand. Our observations (Research conducted by Mini Del Corso and Year 11 Peer Support students) suggest that if students were permitted to use their mobile phones during lesson time they would experience 320 interruptions. Interestingly, many students reported significant interruptions from parents via both text and email. At MacKillop, our goal has been to limit access to when mobile phones can be used i.e.: at the teacher’s discretion. At all other times, between 8.30am and 3.25pm, phones should be turned off and in lockers. This is not because we do not believe in the value of technology. Rather it is because we believe that students will benefit from:
Furthermore, it is worth noting that students’ access to the internet is beyond the control of parents, teachers and governments. When we don’t know what our children are accessing, viewing, reading and hearing it makes it very difficult to guide students as they grow to be responsibly informed, moral and emotionally intelligent members of society.
As a school working in partnership with parents, we ask that you support our approach to the digital dilemma of interruption and distraction. Talk to your daughter about her mobile phone access, support the school policy by not texting your daughter (or sending emails) during the day and model best practice – less snap and more chat.
In other news around the College, Term 2 has seen the girls involved in significant fundraising events, including the Family Breakfast, Year 7 SAPSASA representation, Refugee Week, travelling to Canberra, involved in Futures Week, performing at St Joseph’s School Payneham and completing their first semester of the year. Our Good News assembly to end the term showcased the work of the girls as they build school spirit and involve themselves in the school community.
We trust that all students and families will have an enjoyable break and we look forward to Term 3 with great enthusiasm as we celebrate the life and work of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods throughout August.