It was announced Monday that the Hopewell Valley Regional School District is piloting a program dubbed “Bring Your Own Device” that allows some tweens and teens to use their favorite form of technology—cell phones—for their lessons plans, according to a report by NJ.com.
Designed for eighth-graders and high school students, the program allows students to subtly alert teachers if they're not following the lesson or even take part in mock quiz shows. "BYOD" will go into effect in September. One teacher from each subject area in grades eight through 12 will incorporate cell phone use into his or her lesson plans.
Hopewell Valley Regional superintendent Thomas Smith called the program "an exercise in slowly accepting the reality of cell phone use," according to the report.
While the Westfield school district has recently made strides in technology into the classroom in the form of this summer's district-wide wireless network installation and the purchase of new computers and iPads, 's discipline code prohibits the use of hand-held communication devices in school. Students found to be utilizing these devices in any manner will be subject to disciplinary actions, according to the code. Communication devices may be used only before 7:15 a.m. and after 2:45 p.m. If a communication device is confiscated it will only be released to a parent/guardian.
Board of Education member Mitch Slater, who serves as the Ad-Hoc Technology Committee Chair, said that while certain policies would need to be put in place to insure privacy as well as offer equal opportunities for students who may not be able to afford their own devices, he likes the idea.
"I applaud any school that is forward thinking with technology," Slater said. "It should be very interesting to follow how their pilot goes. For Westfield, we first need to develop our new policies for our new technology. It is imperative that every student has the same opportunities with every device available."
Schools superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan could not be reached for comment.