Francis Douglas turns off Wi-fi during breaks in hope students will interact


Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth has started turning off its wi-fi internet network during breaks to encourage students to talk and play with each other.

School principal Martin Chamberlain said he wasn’t banning phones, but he was limiting their use.

Wanting to see more students out playing in the sunshine is the reason why he started turning off the school’s wi-fi most of the time during morning tea and lunch breaks.

“It’s really something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but it’s not until recently that we had the power to be able to shut down our wi-fi at set times and yet not dislocate the staff. The staff can still have use of it,” he said.

The school operates two wi-fi networks, one for staff that stays on and another for students that turns off at certain times.

Chamberlain said the move wasn’t about banning cell phones or the use of internet, but instead about managing how both were used.

“We see phones as an essential part of modern life so students are often invited to use their phone in class and to look up things on the web, and certainly we see them as a vital parental communication tool during breaks. So no, we’re not Luddites; phones are a part of modern life,” he said.

“But the other side of it is when I see students fixated onto screens, generally junior students who haven’t been used to having this at their primary schools but now when they get it here they tend to make a feast of it.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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