Columbia Co. teachers support students using devices in class

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News 12 This Morning

September 12, 2013

COLUMBIA CO., Ga. (WRDW)--"I love Bring Your Own Technology," said Katie Gentile. "It opens up a whole new world for the kids. It opens up a whole new realm of ideas."

Gentile is in her second year of teaching at Grovetown High School and she says she can see a difference in her students since Columbia County started its Bring Your Own Technology initiative at the start of the school year.

"Increasing of studying, increase of homework," Gentile explained.

That increase is partially due to teachers using Remind 101, a site that comes in app form that allows teachers to send text message alerts reminding students about homework assignments.

"I definitely love the fact that I can text my students and be like, 'you have a test tomorrow and you need to study,'" said Gentile.

Her colleague, Jeremy Davis, says he loves Remind 101 because as a math teacher he's not able to find many ways to have his students use their devices in his classroom.

"It allows me to communicate with my students outside of my 50 minute class period," said Davis.

The site only allows one-way communication from the teacher to the students who sign up. And no actual phone numbers are released.

"I also encourage my parents to sign up it as wellso that they can keep students accountable for tests and quizzes that come up," he said.

Davis says he uses it for more than just sending reminders.

"Sometimes I'll put thought provoking questions so I can propose a question through a text message and they're able to just think about it all the way until the next class," he explained.

Teachers are also using other education driven sites like Edmodo and Socrative, which are both learning platforms that allow students to interact using their devices.

But, many wonder if it's unrealistic to put so much trust in each student to use their devices for school purposes only.

Gentile says so far--she hasn't had any problems.

"As of yet, I haven't had any problems dealing with them doing things they're not supposed to be doing," she said.

The initiative isn't in every Columbia County School yet. Several schools are still working to get WIFI so students can connect, but officials say they're expecting all schools in the county will implement Bring Your Own Technology by the end of the school year.

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