Hillsborough schools get ready for "bring-your-own" cell phones and tablets in schools

TAMPA - There was a time when using a smart-phone in class could get you in a load of trouble. 

"Before it was, 'If I see it or hear it, it's mine,'" said Megan Whitehead, a 4th grade teacher at Cannella Elementary. But now the students in her class can freely fiddle with, swipe, and type on tablets, mobile devices and phones, because the times --  like the technology -- are a-changing.

"We've put something in place that said, if it is an approved device, and as long as you've been trained, we would encourage the use of these devices now," said spokesperson Steve Hegarty with Hillsborough County Public Schools

At a special workshop Tuesday, school board members wrangled with some of the intricate issues like who will train, what devices will be okayed and how wireless access to the school servers can be safeguarded.

These are things that these elementary kids have already worked through with Miss Whitehead, in one of the handful of test studies in the county where books and nooks and iPhones are side by side.

"But mainly its the walking around and monitoring and making sure that they're doing what they're supposed to," she said.

Now, these changes will not happen right away , nor will they happen district-wide, but at "pilot schools" like Cannella that's been doing this for the past two years, the only question is, 'What's taken so long?"

"It's not boring. Instead of just paper pencil," said student Emma Yepes. "And it's fun.  More fun." 

The school board will present a draft of the new rules at an upcoming meeting. They will hopefully vote on a new finalized set of "dos" and "don'ts" that will be in place and ready for district-wide implementation before the end of the current term.







Real-life lessons that are fun... sounds like this might just work...   IN Hillsborough County, BL ABC AN

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