Cell Phones May Soon be Incorporated in the Classroom

TUPELO, Miss. — It is a common rule in classrooms — no cell phones allowed, but now school officials are saying that could all be history soon.

Technology is becoming an ever-popular necessity in schools throughout the world with schools even using things like mobile UX guide to make their websites and resources accessible from a students phone, but while technology needs are increasing many school districts find that budgets are decreasing. So how can schools afford all the latest high-tech gear for classrooms? Enter: The cell phone.

“Why do you keep buying technology when people have their pocket phones that are more powerful than computers used to be?” said Gearl Loden, superintendent of Tupelo Public Schools in Tupelo, Miss. in a statement.

The question raises some interesting responses and actions from school districts. In Mississippi for example, some northeast Mississippi school districts, such as New Albany and Tupelo, have recently set up a policy that allows students to operate their cell phones — only when it is related to educational reasons. Districts that are implementing this policy say that the model may be an example for other districts to follow.

“If school districts are not looking at things like that, they are going to fall behind,” said Jackie Ford, superintendent of New Albany School District in a statement.

Bring Your Own Technology, or BYOT, is becoming almost standard practice in schools all over the country as a way to save money on purchasing electronics for every student in the district. Although BYOT is used in many cases, cell phones typically do not fall under that category, but officials say that cell phones and tablets (iPads) can be used for research, interaction and storage for digital textbooks. Including cell phones within the curriculum nationwide may be closer than we know, although it is taking some persuasion.

“We haven’t made policy changes yet, but yes, I do expect it to come,” said Karen Tutor, superintendent for Pontotoc Municipal Schools, in a statement regarding the district’s implementation of cell phones as technology in the classroom.

While the response has been generally positive in the southern state of Mississippi, there are also those who are concerned and see the potential dangers of allowing students to use their cellular devices for educational purposes at school.

“It’s just getting too disruptive to the learning process,” said Michelle Wade, a spokeswoman for the New Haven Public Schools in New Haven, Conn., in a statement.