There’s hardly a working professional out there today who isn’t in constant contact with his or her mobile device.
Instant access to the all the world’s knowledge through mobile devices has become the norm, and this school year some St. Michael-Albertville middle school students will be no exception.
After a group of teachers and administrators spent the past year visiting other schools and reading about the use of personal mobile devices in classrooms, the district is getting ready for a pilot program this school year that will allow students to bring their own device to school to utilize at different times in language arts, social studies or science classes.
Only four teachers per building will take part in the program this school year, but if deemed successful the use of mobile devices in classrooms will likely expand in future years. Any personal laptop, tablet or smartphone would be allowed.
Wayne Hoistad, director of technology and transportation for the district, informed parents of this new program last month, saying the pilot program seeks to enhance communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and information access.
“A recent online survey showed that 83 percent of STMA parents who responded indicated that it is 'absolutely essential' or 'important' for students to use current mobile wireless technology at schools,” Hoistad said in an announcement.
Students, as one would expect, heartily agree about the necessity for mobile wireless technology in the classroom.
“That’s a really good idea, that would be really cool,” said Keegan Mann, a soon-to-be sixth-grader at Middle School East.
“It would be better than books,” added soon-to-be sophomore Max Jackson.
These students, being the Millennials that they are, seemed confident that using their mobile devices in class would help stimulate their minds more than books and give them easier access to look up information.
“They’ll probably get a better education [using the mobile devices,] said Keegan’s older brother, Dawson Mann.
And, luckily for the parents and educators involved, all the mobile devices will be run through the district’s Internet content filter.
“Please know that the expectations will be very clear that the device will be used for learning,” Hoistad said.
Hoistad emphasized that this does not mean students need to bring a device from home, or that parents should go out and buy their students a device. He said the school would purchase a limited number of devices for students who do not have their own or who choose not to bring it.