Oldham Co. Schools embrace smartphones in the classroom - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Oldham Co. Schools embrace smartphones in the classroom

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Smart phones are now a welcome learning tool in some Kentucky school districts. In this school smarts report, Sterling Riggs talks with Oldham County educators to talk about how cell phones change the way material is presented to students.

Oldham County is ahead of the bell curve when it comes to allowing the use of cell phones in classrooms. Right now, most schools in the district allow phones on school grounds for educational purposes.

Superintendent Dr. Will Wells tells us school must adapt with the times despite the fact it can be a distraction. Wells says, "It's good for us to embrace technology and use it in the right time, place, and manner at school for educational purposes. It has been a challenge for us to learn how to normalize technology so it's ok for the kids to have a hand held device out."

Wells also believes allowing students to use cell phones as learning tools prepares them for life after high school. "One of the aspects of technology that we want kids to leave us with is technology literacy." He says "It's just as important as reading, writing, speaking and listening; being able to be literate with technology."

English teacher Adam Watson is Oldham County's technology pioneer. He started OCTI or Oldham County's Technology Initiative. Watson mentors other teachers on how to implement technology in the classroom and says it's a "no brainer" to utilize smart phones, "Its technology that students already know because they are experts. It's technology that can access an outside world and they can use in so many positive ways so I wanted to use that."

He says technology helps take learning beyond the school bell. Senior Lindsay Moore uses various apps to prepare for tests. "There are flashcard apps that you can use to make flash cards electronically. It's really convenient and you can study everywhere. And there are apps like notability which allows you to access power points and then take your notes directly on the app," says Moore.

But what about distractions while using hand held devices in the classrooms? Here's what teacher Adam Watson had to say, "If I have a student that's slightly distracted and off task for an app, but pull them back in, the benefit of them using technology far out weighs any negative. I say throwing the baby out with the bathwater is harsh."

Watson stressed that teachers still use traditional books, but more and more teachers are implementing technology as a tool when possible. In Oldham County, it's up to the principals to allow teachers and students to use cell phones on school property.

JCPS currently has a "no cell phone" policy. Just this week, the board approved a measure to allow principals to apply for a waiver.


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