The Minister for Education and Skills has decided to request schools to consult with their school community, including teachers, students and parents regarding the use of smartphones, tablets and video recording devices with a view to developing a whole-school policy for their use or updating an existing one.
Schools have been advised that they should have a whole school policy in place covering the use of tablet devices and smartphones in the classroom and during the school day. This policy should complement the use of technology in the classroom for teaching and learning and should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. It should be developed in an open and inclusive way involving all members of the school community including teachers,students and parents so as to ensure that the policy meets the needs of the individual school and there is a shared understanding of its content.
There may also be changes required to other polices, or the development of other policies may be required, as a consequence of the outcome of the consultation.
So our first consultation with you will involve the use of smartphones in the classroom. There are many arguments for and against the use of mobile phones in school. In one primary school in Kerry last year, mobile phones were banned for a month both at home and in school, and the results in the behaviour and wellbeing of the students were impressive. We do not plan to follow suit, but we do plan to offer you some differing opinions so that in a short time, when we engage with you to come up with our policy on this issue, you will be well informed on both sides of the argument.