Tenn. school encourages students to bring their own laptops, smart phones and other devices to class

1:57 PM, Sep 12, 2011   |    comments
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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (NBC) -- Across Tennessee school districts face tight budgets and growing demands to raise the academic bar. To fulfill both goals, the Williamson County School System is testing a new program in which students bring their own technology to the classroom.

Four Williamson County high schools including Page High School, are encouraging students to bring their own gadgets through the BYOT pilot program, or "Bring Your Own Technology".

"At first, I was thinking how exactly are they going to control that," student Jordan Flowers said.

Flowers was skeptical about the program at first, but now he is using his iPad, iTouch and cell phone to get through his junior year.

"It's helped me to be able to take notes easier and look up sources when I don't have time after school," he said.

Still, not every student can afford their own laptop, iPad or smart phone.

"They just go into the library, check them out for the day, return them and they're able to do the same activities the other students are able to do," said Dr. Andrea Anthony, Page High School principal.

If you think these kids will be sneaking in a text or Facebook chat, think again.

"This doesn't mean students can have their cell phones out at any time now. You make it very clear of when laptops can be open and when it's laptops down," teacher Katie Harris said.

Each student has to sign an agreement to only use their technology in class for academic purposes.

If the program works, schools could save money.

Instead of paying top dollar for textbooks, they would pay a fraction of the price for textbooks on DVD. It's a step in to the future Flowers didn't expect to see during his high school years.

"I thought it would be more of a textbook society, but I'm glad they're integrating more technology," he said.

Williamson County school leaders say this is the future of academia.

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