Opinion: Ontario Cellphone Ban Highlights the Divide Between Gen Z and Gen X

Starting Nov. 4, the infamous Ford cellphone ban will be taking effect across Ontario classrooms, yet school board policies offer no new administrative action. 

This calls for little to no change for teachers and students who continue to use personal devices in the classroom. Yet, the ban polarized citizens concerned about the declining quality of Ontario education due to the misuse of cellphones. 

It is important to understand that student demographics are much different than they used to be, as Generation Z fills high schools across the country. Cellphones and other uses of personal technology are vital aspects of students' lives. This means that teaching methods should cater to 21st century learning, rather than stray away from it. 

Despite the ban having no significant action, it serves as a Conservative declaration of disapproval, setting an unwritten precedent that many teachers will follow. And because of this, teachers will be more inclined to limit the use of personal technology or revert back to a more traditional way of learning.

But this might not be for the best. 

The problem lies between the misunderstanding of the students and the teachers. Gen Z is a technological generation who are more in tune with the virtual world instead of the physical one. Many older teachers however, favour the traditional way of teaching through memorization and recitation techniques.

This generational misunderstanding makes it difficult for teachers to adapt to the mindset of the new generation. Because of this, many teachers fail to optimize the use of personal electronics. 

What teachers don't see is that smartphones possess unlimited potential in the classroom, especially considering the use of educational apps. Learning can extend far beyond the walls of the school and become more accessible once teachers recognize the effectiveness of learning apps.

Apps such as Duolingo, where users can practise their language skills on their phone, can allow a student to excel in courses such as French. This is because learning a new language involves constant practice - if language teachers promote the use of this app in their curriculum, students would be able to absorb words quicker due to the app's convenience. However, if teachers ignore the benefits that personal devices may offer, students may never reap their benefits. 

There is not much we can do about the generational gap between student and teacher, however we can enforce a general understanding. Instead of "banning" personal technology in the classroom, teachers should embrace it. 

Educators should learn how to use cellphones to their advantage and grow with the technology. The Ford cellphone ban only divides the teachers from the students and enforces teaching methods that do not appeal to a generation surrounded by technology.