Public school classrooms in Cornwall could soon be a place where a student stops hiding cellphone and tablet use below the desk, and instead proudly uses it for all to see.
The Upper Canada District School Board is drafting a policy that chair Greg Pietersma told Seaway News will clear up a lot of confusion that is permeating area classrooms.
"Right now one teacher may allow the use of (tablets and cellphones) while another does not," he said. "We want to create a policy that is uniform.
"This isn't about outlawing, but instead it's about enabling."
Critics have suggested allowing the use of cell phones in classroom adds unnecessary distractions and also presents problems concering privacy - especially if students begin recording themselves and others.
But many school boards across the province have voted to allow the digital devices.
Last year the Toronto District School Board rescinded a four-year-old cellphone ban, which was put in place to prevent everything from inappropriate photographs to electronic cheating.
Others, though, have yet to follow suit.
Cellphones are allowed in Edmonton schools, but only for use during breaks, and in Halifax most schools have policies in place to keep personal electronic devices out of the classroom. And in many American schools students are barred from bringing cellphones into class, unless they have a valid medical reason.
Pietersma said there will be rules governing the use of cellphones and tablets once the policy is approved by the board.
"Obviously there can't be a disruption and they can't be used to cheat on a test," he said. "And we have privacy issues to deal with."
Currently all facilities within the Upper Canada board have wi-fi access with the appropriate filtering software to help proetct students from racy material.
Pietersma said board administration is consulting with staff, parents and students before returning with a draft policy by February. The board will then vote on approval.