Pencils, pupils and phones: incorporating technology into classroom learning

Regina Public Schools is encouraging its students to bring smartphones to class.

Regina, Saskatoon public schools allow smartphone use in classrooms

Stuart Harris, the Student Achievement Coordinator for Regina Public Schools, works with teachers to help them incorporate technology into lesson planning. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC)

Among its classrooms' protractors, pencils, pupils and multiple class periods, Regina Public Schools allows pixels too. 

As students return to their classrooms, the school division is encouraging them to bring handheld devices to class, and put them to good use. 

It wasn't always this way. Former grade school students of an older ilk will remember a host of prohibitions such as hats and chewing gum, let alone any sort of mobile phone. 

That has now changed: cellphones are used regularly during instruction.

"Smartphones, in particular, are a phenomenal learning resource. If I don't know how to do something, I can find out. And that's key. So how do they use the tools to support a lifetime of learning?" said Stuart Harris, the Student Achievement coordinator with Regina Public Schools.

He says incorporating technology into learning is essential to connecting with students. 

Harris normally works on curriculums and instruction plans, particularly with teachers to help them incorporate technology into their lesson plans. 

"Mobile technology, now, has been around for a while. It's one that has a lot of potential because they're a person-device. Kids, staff, people generally use the device and build and provide or add the tools that work for them."

In an emailed statement from Saskatoon Public Schools, a spokesperson said the division "[believes] the use of the Internet and/or personal digital devices contributes to relevant student learning and supports instructional goals."

The division "provides wireless Internet access in all schools ... Students who elect to bring personal digital devices to school (smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, notebook computers, etc.) can access the Internet with their account," the statement read. 

(Madeline Kotzer/CBC)

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