Smartphones, laptops and mp3 players will be allowed in classrooms next September, following a decision by the Toronto District School Board to lift a four-year-old ban on electronic devices!

Trustees passed a motion to clarify in-school use of the devices early Thursday morning.

A statement on the board’s website said the decision recognizes “the evolving nature of such technology, its value as a tool to enhance student learning and support curriculum delivery, as well as the growing role it plays in social communication.”

Individual teachers will ultimately decide when and how electronic devices are used in their classrooms, said Zane Schwartz, one of the board’s student trustees.

“The teacher still retains complete control,” he said.

Schwartz said there are many ways smartphones can be used effectively in class, thanks to the ever-increasing number of educational apps. He said he had a teacher who once had students text her their answers, rather than raise their hand, to gain a better sense of whether everyone was grasping the concept being taught.

“This is a positive and should be taken advantage of,” he said.

Students will also be allowed to use the devices outside the classroom, as long as they don’t bother anyone else.

The old ban was justified as a way of cutting down on distractions and improving school safety by making it easier to identify intruders. School literature also said cellphones posed privacy issues because of their ability to take photos.