In Kara Kujawa's seventh-grade science class at Sunset Hills Elementary School in Surprise, her students are used to hearing, "Get out your devices."
The Dysart Unified School District has allowed students to bring their own cellphones, iPod Touches, e-readers, tablets and laptops to school to do research, answer questions and participate in class discussions for the past couple of years, at the teacher's discretion.
Using education-friendly sites such as edmodo.com, a secure social-learning network, and goorulearning.org, a search engine for study guides, Kujawa incorporates student-brought technology into her class to teach her students how to be safe online, use the Internet for research and answer polls for questions posed in class.
"Kids are using it every single day for entertainment and fun, why not show them how to use it in a more productive fashion?" said Kujawa, who is starting her fifth year at Sunset Hills. "I want to teach them the more effective and safer ways of using their technology."
Kujawa and Dysart join a growing number of teachers and school districts who are either continuing or piloting bring-your-own-technology programs into classroom curriculum. Districts are providing professional development to teachers to show them the best way to incorporate the new technology into lessons.