Ariana Leonard’s Spanish class at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla., is one of a growing number around the country that are abandoning traditional policies of cell-phone prohibition and incorporating the devices into class lessons, reports the Associated Press. Her students divide into groups, and Leonard sends them text messages in Spanish: Find something green. Go to the cafeteria. Take a picture with the school secretary. In this way, Spanish vocabulary becomes a digital scavenger hunt. “I can use my cell phone for all these things, why can’t I use it for learning purposes?'” Leonard said. Today’s phones are the equivalent of small computers; meanwhile, most school districts can’t afford a computer for every student. “It really is taking advantage of the love affair that kids have with technology today,” said Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators. “The kids are much more motivated to use their cell phone in an educational manner.” Even districts with tough anti-use policies acknowledge they’ll need to change eventually. “We can’t get away from it,” said Bill Husfelt, superintendent of Bay County District Schools, a Florida Panhandle district of 27,000 students where cell phones aren’t allowed in school, period. “But we’ve got to do a lot more work in trying to figure out how to stop the bad things from happening.”

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