PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – More and more students are taking their smartphones and tablets to school these days. It’s something that is hard to avoid, so some school districts are embracing it by using technology to enhance lessons.
One school district doing just that is West Jefferson Hills and their technology director, Suhail Baloch, joined “The KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about how they do it.
The district has a training program for their teachers they call B.Y.O.D. or Bring Your Own Device.
“We are not necessarily training the teachers on how to use the particular devices. We feel the students are already experts on how to use their devices,” Baloch said. “What we are trying to do is teach our teachers how to enhance the instruction and learning in their classrooms using those devices.”
One of the concerns of parents and teachers alike is how to keep students on task and not browsing the Internet.
For students to be able to bring their device into class they have to sign a, “Robust appropriate use policy.”
Baloch says one of the advantages is that the teacher is able to walk around the classroom more and in doing so, is able to monitor what the students are doing on their device and engage with the student.
There’s another tool that the teacher has to curb distractions too.
“Interactive projectors, which will allow [the teacher] to take a dozen to two dozen [of the students] devices and project them on the wall,” says Baloch.
Not everyone can afford a smartphone or tablet and students who can’t afford a device are not penalized or left behind.
“What we do is provide alternatives [at West Jefferson Hills],” says Baloch.
He explains that the district has invested in purchasing tablets and laptops of their own that teachers can lend to students who don’t own one.