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Smartphone use causes review of technology policies at Franklin Regional

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By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Five years ago, the idea of cellphones in school classrooms was virtually unheard of.

But with the development of bring-your-own-device policies across the region, smartphones no longer are banished to students' lockers. That's a challenge for teachers and officials, who want to make sure the devices enhance learning rather than distract from it.

“We have to evaluate our technology policies continuously,” Franklin Regional School District Superintendent Jamie Piraino said. “Cellphones are one piece of technology. Regardless of what the device is, we hope that the kids will be successful and engage in the learning process.”

It's a changing field, Piraino said. He has seen students who can use their smartphones to take notes and create presentations. But he wants to see them used for other things, too.

Piraino said he envisions students using cellphones to send in answers as part of a student-response system — think buzzing in with an answer in a survey.

“It's a consumption piece where they're able to gain access to information very quickly,” Piraino said.

At Plum, officials already have established firm rules for students using their smartphones in classrooms. One major one is: “No photos allowed.”

“Students are free to use them for academic purposes,” Plum technology director Chris Davis said. “But at a specific teacher's request, they have to put them away.”

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