As France starts the new school year with a blanket smartphone ban, several other countries are discussing its feasibility in their school systems.
In Malaysia, the Ministry of Education has been urged to review the use of electronic gadgets to improve learning and teaching in schools.
The review would allow the ministry to assess the pros and cons of using electronics in classrooms, said West Malaysia Teachers’ Union president Jasni Md Kechik.
“In terms of teaching and learning, the use of such gadgets are beneficial,” he said. “But there are factors that can lead to problems including maintenance and weak data connection.
“There should be enough infrastructure to support the use of such devices, suitable with the classroom environment and current needs.”
The use of smartphones could also incur additional costs and lead to wastage, he added.
He said that France’s decision to ban the use of gadgets, including smartphones, tablets and smart watches, was “surely…[made] after an extensive study”.
According to the New Straits Times, he cited numerous negative issues linked to the use of electronics in classes, such as online bullying and gadgets being a distraction for students.
“Students can get distracted by the use of handphones, for example, spending more time surfing the internet because there was no one to properly monitor their use of such gadgets,” he said.
Ong believes that whether smartphones affect learning positively or negatively “depends on its usage”, adding that the ministry provides guidelines for schools to develop policies to regulate its use.
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