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Schools to Use Students' Smartphones for Classroom Instruction

The Associated Press

AMITE, La. (AP) — Most school districts limit or prohibit their students from using cellphones on campus. But two schools in Tangipahoa Parish plan to use their students' smartphones for classroom instruction this coming school year.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/13zOEWn ) it's an experiment in smart technology that other school districts also are considering.

The trick is to make sure the students are distracted by the devices.

"The other schools that have experimented with this have found that teaching a child the proper way to use technology is a much better approach to controlling the use of that technology," Tangipahoa School Board member Brett Duncan said.

The Tangipahoa school district's technology policy bans students from using cellphones and similar electronic devices on campus unless for an emergency. But the School Board's curriculum committee voted July 16 to authorize Hammond High Magnet School and Jewel Sumner High School to allow smartphones on campus for classroom purposes only.

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The new policy is nicknamed BYOT -- bring your own technology.

Chad Troxclair, principal at Hammond High Magnet, said students will be able to use devices such as smartphones and laptops, as well as iPads, which the school began using a year ago after buying 247 of them through a federal grant.

Troxclair said students use the iPads to connect with teachers' smartboards, which are an interactive, computerized form of a blackboard.

"We'll go through growing pains like we have everything else," Troxclair said. "But I expect we'll have the same type of success we had with the iPads."

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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