SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - There is a new tool in the backpacks of students at Sullivan Central High School: cell phones and tablets.
Students at Sullivan Central High School started using smartphones with their microscopes on Monday. "I think there's a learning curve as far as going from not allowing students to use technology to saying let's get out our phones and let's look something up," said Rebecca Reasor, a math teacher.
The move is part of the Bring Your Own Technology Program, or BYOT. "Technology for kids now is second nature. Kids grow up using technology and in our arsenal of instructional tools, it only makes sense to incorporate those types of technology," said Principal Mark Foster.
Students are allowed to use any device including smart phones and tablets that utilize Wi-Fi as an educational tool by connecting to the school's internet network, which monitors the student's access with strict content filters. The use of 3G and 4G is not allowed.
Green posters are hanging all over the school reminding students what they can and cannot do with their devices inside and outside of the classroom. According to the rules, students are allowed to use their devices for personal reasons in between classes and during lunch. "We are definitely going to protect instructional time. We do not want students using devices for personal reasons during instruction," said Foster.
Holly Rogers, a senior student, hopes the technology will not only help her learn more, but also prepare her for the future. "Bringing technology to school means a lot, especially as a senior, because getting ready to go to college, we'll be expected to know how to use all that," she said.
Principal Mark Foster estimates 85 to 90 percent of the student body has some type of smart device.
The Sullivan County Board of Education reports Sullivan South got a similar technology program during the 2011-2012 school year, Sullivan East started theirs in November 2012 and Sullivan North is scheduled to be next.