“How do mobile devices change the scene for all of us?” asked Rick Angelone, a board member with the Catholic Schools K12 Virtual. “We’re looking to the students to drive that process, because they have the tools, and it will cost districts less if parents are buying the hardware.”

Angelone said some challenges that surround incorporating mobile devices into classrooms include the speed with which technology changes and ways in which educators might differentiate between what is good for teaching and learning and what is simply technology for technology’s sake.

And while some are concerned about how much time students spend on task with internet-enabled devices that offer potential distractions, Angelone said it is not a huge issue.

“The novelty wears off and they move from using Facebook” to using the device for academic purposes, he said. “Smartphones really are becoming the resource tool and the communication tool of the future,” and networks such as Facebook have grown because more students have access to social learning, collaboration, and immediate gratification.

Virtual learning and the availability of digital content have changed to offer more methods of student engagement, increased customization of learning objects, open resources, and personalized education, Angelone said.

Forsyth County Schools in Georgia embarked on a “Bring Your Own Technology” (BYOT) initiative that includes seven schools and 40 teachers. Teachers received face-to-face and web-based professional development that included modeled examples of what BYOT activities might look like in a classroom.