‘How might we educate and support the health and wellbeing of the college community in the responsible, ethical and balanced use of mobile devices to empower all to develop positive habits and goals as lifelong learners?’
Our aim is to promote healthy lifestyles in line with our commitment to visible wellbeing, positive relationships and digital citizenship by taking an approach that is guided by the principles of neuroscience, child development and how children learn best.
There are several reasons why it may be beneficial to limit the use of mobile devices during the school day as follows:
Mobile devices can be a major distraction for both students and teachers. Notifications, messages, and phone calls can interrupt the flow of the lesson and disrupt the learning environment.
Excessive use of mobile devices can lead to a decrease in face-to-face communication and social interaction, which are important skills for students to develop.
Mobile devices can be a source of temptation for cheating, both during exams and in everyday classroom activities.
The excessive use of mobile devices during the school day can contribute to a culture of constant connectivity and overstimulation, which can negatively impact overall mental health and wellbeing.
By limiting or prohibiting the use of mobile devices during the school day, students may be better able to focus on their studies, develop better social skills and relationships and maintain a healthier balance of the use of technology.
Definition of mobile devices
A mobile device is a handheld computing device that is typically small enough to be carried and used while being held in one or both hands. Common examples of mobile devices include:
Smartphones: Phones with advanced computing capabilities like apps, internet access, and streaming media.
Laptops/Tablets: Portable devices primarily used for viewing and interacting with digital content.
Smartwatches: Wearable devices that provide notifications, run apps, and can track health metrics like steps or heart rate.
Handheld game consoles: Portable gaming devices with built-in controls and displays, such as Nintendo Switch or Sony PlayStation Portable.
The Digital Citizenship Framework has four key themes that can be used to guide the expected use of mobile devices in school.
1. Stay Safe
Students must respect the privacy of others and not access, share, or distribute personal information, images or videos without their consent.
Mobile devices and laptops must not be used in toilets and changing rooms.
Students must not access other students' devices and accounts without permission from the owner.
2. Be Balanced
As students enter the school campus, they should not use their mobile devices. Mobile devices should remain in bags and set to silent mode.
Students may wish to use their mobile devices briefly during lesson transitions to help with their organisation e.g. checking next lesson and rooms. They should be mindful of not using their devices whilst walking, particularly on stairs.
During break and lunchtimes, mobile devices and laptops are not allowed to be used in social spaces. This includes the canteen and other eating areas. Students are encouraged to engage in face-to-face social interactions and games with their peers.
During lessons, learning team and home room time, mobile devices should only be used as directed by their teacher for educational purposes, including organising their learning.
Students should be encouraged to monitor their personal use of mobile devices for example, by analysing the data of daily/ weekly use.
Students who wish to use their laptop for studying during break and lunchtime, should use designated spaces such as the library and supervised classrooms.
3. Stay Informed
Students must not use mobile devices to copy, cheat or plagiarise assignments or assessments.
Students should not use the school wifi for downloading or sharing non-school related materials, unless given permission by relevant staff.
4. Be Engaged
Mobile devices must not be used to bully, harass, impersonate or intimidate others. Such behaviour will result in disciplinary action in line with our school policies.
Social media apps should not be open on any mobile device during lesson time, unless approved by the teacher for educational purposes. When interacting with others online, students should demonstrate respect and empathy towards each other.
Students who need to contact their parents for an urgent message, should request to use the phone in the school office. Parents should also contact the school office if they need to get an urgent message to their child.
Staff are positive role models for students to support and reinforce healthy use of mobile devices in line with these guidelines e.g. when on duty, staff should be engaging with students and only use phones for emergencies/urgent situations.
Senior Students Use
In addition to following the above guidelines, senior students (Y12 and Y13) should limit their mobile device use to the Senior Student Centre.
In the Library, any use of devices is for the purpose of study.
Disclaimer from Discovery College Digital Technologies Responsible Use Agreement
Students are responsible for the safekeeping and security of all mobile devices. The school is not liable for lost or stolen devices.
The school may monitor the use of mobile devices on campus to ensure compliance with this guidance.