Educators reverse the war on students’ gadgets
DENISA R. SUPERVILLE The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) (MCT)
Cellphones were once verboten on most school grounds, destined to be confiscated by a principal or stashed in a locker until the end of the school day.
Now, some districts are not only encouraging students to bring the gadgets to school, they are using them and other devices — laptops, tablets, even Nintendo DSs — in class.
The about-face is a growing trend in K-12 districts nationwide, from Georgia and Wisconsin to New Jersey. Cellphones, laptops and tablets are relatively affordable, and rare is the teenager who doesn’t own at least one. As such, more teachers are incorporating Internet-based programs, applications and videos into their lesson plans, the 21st-century equivalent of the chalk and blackboard.
The initiatives come at a time when budgets are squeezed. And some school districts have found it is cheaper for students to bring their own technology than to spend thousands of dollars building computer labs or buying laptops for each student.
At New Milford (N.J.) High School, it is not uncommon to see students finishing homework assignments on their MacBooks in the cafeteria or using cellphones in class to text an answer.
“It’s giving them the freedom and autonomy to use the devices to support what they are doing in their classes,” said Principal Eric Sheninger.