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Pilot program encourages phones at school

CHUGIAK, Alaska >> Some schools in the Anchorage School District are welcoming electronic diversions.

Chugiak, Eagle River and East high schools, along with Romig Middle School, are participating in a pilot program that will allow students to use smartphones, laptops and tablets for educational uses.

It will be up to individual teachers and students to opt into the Bring Your Own Device — or BYOD — program, the Chugiak-Eagle River Star reported.

In classrooms where students are allowed to use the devices, they will connect to the school’s Wi-Fi for filtered Internet access.

Eagle River High School Principal Marty Lang said the program seeks to teach students to use their phones as learning tools.

“We want to harness that technology,” he said.

Chugiak High School Principal David Legg is promoting the program, which is a shift from the district’s previous prohibition of such devices in the past.

“Rather than restricting the use, it’s to encourage the use,” he said.

“It’s not just about letting kids use phones in class,” Lang added. “It’s about teaching them how to be responsible users.”

The district will evaluate the program at the end of the school year.

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