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Georgia School District to Integrate Smartphones, Internet

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Three schools in eastern Georgia are testing a program aimed at further integrating technology into everyday classroom experiences.

Richmond County Technical Magnet School, Hephzibah High and Dorothy Hains Elementary are each wireless Internet campuses, which has helped the schools launch the "Bring Your Own Technology" initiative.

Students in some classes are allowed to use their cellphones and laptops for research, and are asked to submit homework assignments via email.

"I like this better than flipping through the book," Daniel Sills, 15, told the newspaper. "Plus they say you learn better when you're having fun."

The Augusta Chronicle (http://bit.ly/14AbDAP ) reported Monday that the school district is looking to expand the program to all of its campuses if each of them has full wireless Internet capabilities by next summer.

"Technology is integrated in education," director of media and instructional technology Kim Stripling said. "It's not going away, it's here to stay, it's how our kids learn. To allow students to use what's easy for them really helps them learn."

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The district's director of information technology, Rob Jankus, said the initiative puts more resources in the hands of students than they've had before.

Students who don't have smartphones or laptops will still be able to use desktop computers and other devices provided by the schools, school officials have said.

"Technology is the way to go, and we're embracing it," said social studies teacher Sherri Darden. "It's not removing the teacher from the classroom, but it's enhancing what we do."

Senior Director of Curriculum and Instruction Stacy Mabray said not all teachers are as comfortable as others with using cellphones and laptops in the classroom. Teachers still have individual control over how much technology they'll allow to be integrated into daily class time, Mabray said.

The district is also expanding the role of technology in education because of legislation passed in 2012 requiring districts to offer online courses through the Georgia Virtual School.

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Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , http://www.augustachronicle.com

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