Schools contemplate allowing smartphone use in class

Published 7:01 am Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees voted last week to allow students to use tablets and smartphones in class for educational purposes, but it doesn’t look like students at Picayune and Pearl River County school districts will be making a move in that direction anytime soon.

“That is part of technology now and that will at one point be the replacement for conventional textbooks,” said Brent Harrell, Picayune School District Assistant Superintendent.

Pearl River County School District Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said the administrative team understands the advances in technology, but doesn’t know how soon before smartphones and tablets will be used as an educational tool in the classroom.

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“The administrative team at PRC recognizes the advances in technology and cellphones and yes I see one day that being a device that will be used in the educational process,” Lumpkin said.

He said there would need to be many policies put in place before the use of tablets and smartphones could be “an effective tool in the classroom.”

“A lot of policies and procedures will have to be put into place before that is an acceptable educational tool in the classroom,” Lumpkin said. “There is still a lot of distraction these types of devices cause the educational system.”

Tupelo School District began a pilot program this school year at Milam Elementary School that allowed sixth-grade students to use their personal computers and tablets at school.

The school district also allows its seventh through 12th grade students to receive a MacBook laptop to be used during the school year.

The use of the MacBook requires parents pay a $250 deposit at the beginning of each school year.

The Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees didn’t know when the new policy would be put in place, but it would be similar to the programs in nearby districts.

Currently, both Rankin and Madison counties have “bring your own device” policies in place.

(The Associated Press and Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal contributed to this story.)