Smart phones and tablet computers may be taboo in most schools, but in the Cheshire public schools classrooms they're now welcome.
The district is piloting its "Bring Your Own Device" program that allows students to use their own technology — including smart phones — to aid in their school work.
Teachers started rolling out the program during the second semester of the school year at Dodd Middle School, according to Technology Coach Scott Conway.
There are so few districts taking part in the initiative that there is not a lot of data about how well it works, Conway said, but it is become a more popular option.
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Teaches are including the technology in their lesson plans but are allowing for students who don't have or chose not to use their own pieces, Conway said.
"It was limited to the teacher's discretion," he said. "We wanted a slow rollout for the teachers."
And the students have gotten a lesson in cyber security from a Connecticut state trooper, he said, the same presentation that will be offered to parents on March 12 at Dodd Middle School.
The district has the infrastructure for the use of technology in the classroom, but hasn't had the budget to purchase enough. By allowing students to use their own computers, cell phones and tablets, the technology can be used more in lessons, he said.
And you would be surprised what can be done on a smart phone, he said. "One student wrote a two-page paper using a smart phone," he said. But "some teachers are reluctant to allow the use of cell phones because they are so small and easy to conceal."
But on days when tests are administered, there's a no-technology rule, he said, and any violation can lead to a ban at any time.
"If at any time a teacher feels it's not being used appropriately, they will tell them to put them away," he said.
"It's another way to present material but it's not the only way," he said. "We see it as a way to engage students more."
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