Madison-Plains looks to change policy for cellphone use in classrooms

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(Posted Sept. 12, 2019)

By Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 10, the Madison-Plains school board discussed measures aimed at increasing the use of technology in the district’s schools.

The board considered an amendment to the district’s current Bring Your Own Technology policy, which has allowed students to use their personal laptop computers and tablet devices for educational purposes in classrooms since 2013.

The proposed amendment would allow students to use their cellphones for educational purposes, as well.

“We’re trying to catch the policy up to the times,” said Superintendent Chad Eisler, “because in all reality we’ve got kids that we know are using cell phones for learning opportunities in class (already).”

The board will hold a second reading on the proposed amendment at their Oct. 15 meeting. If it passes, teachers will be able to dictate when and if students can access their personal technology in the classroom.

The district also is working to make technology more available to students who cannot bring their own devices from home.

Eisler said the district will be purchasing 25 computers for the high school computer lab, desktop computers for the elementary and intermediate school computer lab, and two new chromebook carts for transportation of laptops in and out of classrooms. The total cost for these items is approximately $50,000.

The goal is to make technology more available in the classroom for all students.

“Through technology, students are able to have different experiences than they otherwise would,” Eisler said.

For example, he said, students in a science lab can watch a virtual dissection or students in an anatomy and physiology class can view video of a surgery.

“Technology gives them access to resources that enrich their learning that traditional paper and pencil activities don’t offer,” he said.

The Bring Your Own Technology policy states: “The district recognizes the importance of technology and the educational benefits available through the use of technology. The use of portable electronic devices in the classroom can add educational value when such devices deliver content and extend, enhance or reinforce the student learning process.”

 

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