Denison ISD changes student cell phone policy

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

When Denison High senior Katie Burkhead shows up for class Monday, she'll have her cellphone in hand.

That's thanks to a new DISD policy allowing cellphones and other personal devices in Denison high schools.

Burkhead said she's excited for the possibilities.

"I really do think it's gonna assist," she said. "It's gonna allow instant access. We're gonna be able to see 'oh this is how this works' in biology. We can research a question and Google it. Instant feedback is gonna help us all."

DISD Director of Instruction Shonda Cannon said expanding technology is the next step in secondary education.

"We're trying to bring their world into our world," she said. "And hopefully those two worlds will mesh in a positive way."

While many students and teachers may be excited for the opportunities, other concerns - like the possibility for cheating and distractions - still remain.

But Assistant Superintendent George Hatfield said he's not worried.

"There'll be some of that, I'm sure," he said. "But the teachers, they do a good job of supervising. They're gonna be directing the learning as it is."

Cannon said while technology is encouraged, it's still up to individual teachers on how they will use it.

"We don't want to cookie-cutter any teacher into saying this is the best thing to do," she said. "They're the experts, they know what to do, and we trust their professional judgement."

Sophomore Marissa Baungardnur admits that while she's excited, Monday will be different.

"It's gonna be weird," she said. "Because usually you'll get in trouble when you get your phone out."

Burkhead said cellphones will help her be more organized.

"It definitely makes learning more interactive, when you give us technology to use and leave it in our hands," she said.

Students who don't have a smartphone or related device can borrow netbooks from the school, according to Hatfield.

Cannon said DISD is discussing the possibility of expanding the personal device policy to middle and elementary schools in future years.

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