Every day is Bring Your Own Technology day at some schools, reports Mind/Shift. In Mankato, Minnesota, students are encouraged to bring netbooks, laptops, and tablets that connect to the school’s wireless network.

“By allowing kids to bring in their own devices, you free up school resources for the kids who don’t have access,” says Doug Johnson, director of media and technology for the Mankato Public School System. (Johnson wrote the book — literally — on the subject; The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide is published this month.) For example, in classrooms that have a group of four computers, finding time for all 30 students to use them can be challenging.

Some 90 percent of Mankato students have a wireless-capable device.  Not all schools could count on most students bringing their own technology, though smart phones are spreading rapidly.

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  1. If it starts as a status thing, it could catch on and actually help close the digital divide. The smart phone is really catching on within the lower SES. If we can move them to tablets, there should be some opportunities for gain.

  2. Mark Roulo says:

    “The smart phone is really catching on within the lower SES. If we can move them to tablets, there should be some opportunities for gain.”

    You are assuming that devices that increase the distractions in a classroom will aid in learning.

    • I use Smartphones in class often. They aren’t a distraction at all. At the beginning of the year, we discuss the power of all technologies available to us and the responsibility that accompanies using them. My 8th graders never have a problem with this.

  3. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Sounds like a network admin’s nightmare.

  4. Deirdre Mundy says:

    We used to have this when I was in school –you could bring your own graphing calculator or use one from the classroom set.

    Of course, if you brought your own, you could also download “snake,” “Skier”, “pitfall” and other games to it….. much more entertaining than the wiped-clean, only for work, classroom version……..

    I’d be more curious to see how teachers are USING the tech…I’m guessing it turns out to be a time waster and more about nebulous ‘internet skills’ than about content.

    (As a once in a while ‘treat’ I can see having an ‘internet skills’ day. But, frankly, based on my husband’s experience as a librarian, many TEACHERS don’t have very good internet research skills either–so instead of concisely conveying winning strategies to the students, they’re just blundering about online as well. At which point, all the smartphones in the world just become time-wasters, even if no one is playing Angry Birds……)