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North Syracuse School District embraces Smart Phones in the classroom

Smart phones are a common sight at college campus around the country, but they’re prohibited in many high schools. One local high school is changing that as they encourage students to embrace new technology.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Smart phones are a common sight at college campus around the country, but they’re prohibited in many high schools. One local high school is changing that as they encourage students to embrace new technology.

“You have to find the balance in terms of what is the benefit of this in terms of the students having a mini computer in their hand versus them using them inappropriately during instructional time,” said Annette Speech, Superintendent of the North Syracuse Central School District.

“We allow students to carry them in the hallways between classes. We allow them to listen to music or call someone or be on the phone,” said Melissa Julian, Executive Principal at C-NS High School.

With the abilities of new Smart Phones, teachers are encouraging students to actually use them in class.

“We realized that technology is not going away. It’s going to stay and for our students, they are glued to their technology 24/7,” Julian said.

At C-NS, teachers have the option to use the phones to teach.

Edmodo is an app that Jennifer Fischer teaches her journalism course with at C-NS and it resembles Facebook, but instead of friends, it has classmates.

“They're using it all the time. They’re talking and texting to each other on websites for class. So it’s about class and so it brings them closer together,” Fisher explained.

C-NS English teacher Randi Downs also uses smart phones in her class, saying it's another way to reach her students.

“These kids are digital natives. They have a cell phone or an iPad, or a computer attached to them so we need to meet them where they are,” Downs said.

Downs even has students take pictures in class as a way to remember a homework assignment.

“There’s no reason to fight against technology, technology has so many good things,” Downs said.

Speach says the policy is only in effect for high school students, which is grades 10 through 12 in the North Syracuse Central School District.
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