District relaxes cell phone, personal technology policy

Taral Patel, News Editor

On the first day of school throughout Katy ISD, students rejoiced at the acceptance of personal technology devices (laptop, netbook, cell phone, tablet, etc.) during lunches, breaks, or even in classes at teacher discretion.

Students now have access to Katy ISD’s filtered wireless fidelity network (commonly known as Wi-Fi) offered in all classrooms and campuses throughout the district, permitting students to use wireless laptops and mobile phones.

 “The new policy really helps learning because I can immediately access the internet using KatyISD’s Wi-Fi and look up the notes for a class, homework, or any other educational tools we may need,” senior Zack Bonner said.

 The policy is aimed at using technology to increase student achievement. Teachers can instruct students to use their phones, for example, to utilize calculator programs, check out educational websites, or even download applications to assist with learning certain lessons.

 Opponents of the new policy claim that there is a relatively weak link between using personal technology devices and increased educational quality. 

  “I personally don’t see how cell phone or laptop usage will stimulate further learning,” senior Mary Jung said. “Although it is a nice freedom to have, to say that this policy encourages learning with technology seems illogical.”

 In the past, students have been found using cell phones in class without teacher permission and in the hallways before the implementation of the new policy. Last year the school collected fines from students who violated the old cell phone policy, which stipulated teachers to turn in cell phones to administration that would charge a $15 dollar fee for retrieval and call the students’ parents. The fines collected by school administration were funneled to KISD summer school scholarships.

 “People use phones all the time and teaching students to use them responsibly and effectively will help them later on in life,” senior assistant principal David Calfee said. “No one can go to work all day texting, but using new technology appropriately is an important lesson.”

 Many students still find the new policy a victory for personal technology.

 “I’m glad the fascist regime at our school is overthrown,” senior Yifan Lu said. “Viva la mobile!”