The Jefferson County Public School board made a big move Monday night by voting to allow students to use their cell phones in the classroom.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Public School board made a big move Monday night by voting to allow students to use their cell phones in the classroom. The board agreed to allow students at eight high schools to use their cell phone during school hours. It's a pilot program and exactly how they will be used will be determined by each school.
For one neighboring district, this is their first year of closing the digital divide. At Jeffersonville High School, each student has a Samsung Google Chromebook.
"I think it's really cool it's like I get experience it my last year of high school," said Jeffersonville High School senior Rosemarie Nesmith.
The Chromebooks are changing the way students learn.
"There is more stuff you can do, than you can not do," said Nesmith. "Like you can do research, you can do your projects, you can communicate with teachers, you can communicate with other students.'
The internet has been the biggest game changer in all of education. Students use it at home so, the thinking is why not in the classroom. For the first time Greater Clark County Schools invested $3 million in the Chromebooks. Every student in grades 3-12, that's about 8,000 students, have the mini laptops.
"It gave our students the ability to become what we call asynchronous learners," said Brett Clark, Director of Technology at Greater Clark County Schools. "Learners at anytime, anywhere, any place."
It's that mentality JCPS is adopting.
"Being able to use technology ethically and appropriately is very important for us to teach as well," said Iroquois High School Principal Chris Perkins.
Iroquois High School is one of eight JCPS schools that will be exempt from the districts policy banning cell phones. Students at the select schools will be able use their own smartphones as educational tools.
"This is something they started asking about a few years back, why aren't we allowed to use cell phones in class," said Perkins.
Perkins said almost 75 percent of his students already have smartphones at Iroquois. The ones that don't will be able to used district owned iPads or tablets.
Parents will have to sign a waiver covering things like damage and appropriate use. During school hours, students have to use the district's wireless network which has security firewalls that prohibit them from getting on inappropriate websites.
"I think again it's a tool that enhance instruction not replace it," said Perkins.
By using the district's network students will also avoid using their own plans to access the internet. JCPS also invested in more bandwidth for the students.
The other schools that are exempt from the JCPS cell phone policy during school hours are Ballard, duPont Manual, Fairdale, Seneca, Southern, Valley and Waggener High Schools.