Several school officials from districts across the country, including in Maryland, say they realize cell phones with Internet can help with classroom lessons and are relaxing policies on cell phone use in school.
This year, Howard County school officials changed the policy as they work to infuse more technology into the classrooms to help with teaching.
Howard County Superintendent Renee Foose Wednesday toldWBAL.com that students are now permitted to use phones much more widely, such as in the hallways between classes, at lunch and before school. Last year, students had to go to the office for using their cell phones in school.
“We’re not fighting them in the halls, saying, ‘Put your phones away,’” and students are being responsible with the new policy, Mount Hebron High School Principal Scott Ruehl told WBAL.
Parents remain divided on the issue, some saying they see students posting pictures on Facebook during the school day. Others say phones can be an important educational resource but they also can record inside school classrooms.
“I’m worried about privacy violations with the cameras,” wroteTheresa Bahr Wynn on Catonsville Patch Facebook.
Julia Jackson McCready, who teaches music and movement to special education preschoolers in Howard County, wrote onElkridge Patch's Facebook page: “You would be amazed at the educational uses. We can help educate kids in responsible tech use so they can become mature digital citizens. That won't happen if we demonize them.”
Elsewhere in the country, schools are relaxing cell phone policies.
Schools in Green Bay, MI, say it is okay to use phones in class if they fit in with lessons and are part of an overall “bring-your-own-technology” movement that some educators are embracing,reported Northwestern.com
Recently in Jefferson County, KY, students at some high schools were given the go-ahead to have their cell phones anywhere in school--even the classroom.
“We want to use the entire school as a teachable space for telecommunication devices,” high school principal Katy Zeitz told the Courier Journal.
Cell phones may also be more widely used in university classrooms.
Yahoo! Finance reports that a start-up called Top Hat is working on a platform to allow students and teachers to interact on phones during class. Professors can ask questions and get instant feedback, company officials said.
Also, at several schools in Portland, OR, teachers set the rules for cell phone use, with varying levels of restrictions, reported KGW.com. Some teachers ask students to keep the phones in their backpacks unless they are using them for research.
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