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New way to answer in class? OMG I’m pretty sure answer is C

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POSTED May 15, 2010 1:57 a.m.
Imagine teachers giving students the OK to use text messaging via cell phone and other electronic signaling devices as part of the instructional experience.

At Manteca Unified, a pilot program is hoping to support the use of this technology in the classroom.

But students are currently prohibited from using this technology during school hours.

“All electronic signaling and communication devices will be in the off mode and out of sight while (students are) transported by district-operated vehicles, and during school hours; including instructional time, lunch, brunch, breaks, passing periods, rallies, assemblies, and other school activities during the instructional day, for all grades K-12,” reads MUSD policy No. 5131 (b).

Superintendent Jason Messer said at last Monday’s school board meeting that a small committee is pushing for a revision to the policy.

He sees this move as a classroom innovation.

Pending board approval, the policy would include the following: “With prior written permission from the teacher, school principal, and the parent, the student may use an electronic device in class only under the direct supervision of the teacher for instructional purposes.”

Trustee Vern Gebhardt, for one, would prefer to hear from members of the committee before casting his vote.

He has questions, including what to do if a student in the class is without the technology.

“I’d like to know if it’s up to us to provide (this technology) for that student,” Gebhardt said.

Messer, however, indicated that other options could be made for those without cell phones.

“A good percentage of our students have cell phones,” he said.

An example supporting the use of the technology in the classroom, according to Messer, could take place in science class.

“Students can respond to the question by text messaging the answer,” he said.

The hope here is for teachers to involve more students in classroom participation.

At no cost to the district.

“In the past, we spent a lot of money on technology that may not have paid off in the classroom,” said Messer. “Most students possess the technology but they’re restricted from using it in the classroom.”

No action was taken since the policy amendment was a first reading.

Trustees are scheduled to revisit this item at their upcoming meeting.
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