Teachers are now seeing the benefits of gadgets as educational tools. Virginia Beach is joining other schools in allowing its students to bring their own tablets, cellphones and other devices to the classroom. Others were less enthusiastic and worried that factors including cheating and cyber-bullying might arise if students are given access to gadgets in the classroom. But the initial reactions have already been anticipated. “There are going to be bumps along the way and we’re going to receive emails, all of us, about some very difficult situations,” Bill Brunke, Vice Chairman of the Virginia Beach School Board, said.
The school is modeling the program, dubbed “Bring Your Own Device” program, from the similar efforts in York and Fairfax counties that have been successful. In Chesapeake for example, officials recently reported good results with their program that allowed its students to use e-readers as well as iPads. Virginia Beach acknowledges the fact that some students learn best with a digital device in hand. But with the approval comes the need to implement new rules as well. School officials said that the use gadgets will be restricted to educational purposes, and students will be required to use the schools’ wireless network, instead of 3G or 4G connections. The “Bring Your Own Device” program is expected to start in the fall.