Cell phones, considered a nuisance or worse in many schools, are welcome at Mary Passage Middle School in Virginia, reports WTKR: At least eight teachers are using them for a range of lessons in English, social studies, science, and math classes. Principal Kipp Rogers is the man behind the move. Rogers teaches a math class in addition to his administration duties. Last year, the school ran out of calculators needed for a math exam, so he let a student use the calculator function on his cell phone. The student was excited to use a phone instead of a calculator. He found 19 of his 22 students had phones, a finding that squared with a 2008 Harris Interactive research study reporting four out of five teenagers carry cell phones. But Rogers was aware of the potential for trouble, so he, his faculty, and the students developed an acceptable-use policy. Students are not to send text messages to anyone outside the building during class hours. They are not to take photos. They are not allowed to upload anything to YouTube or other internet sites not approved by the school. "For the most part, the kids respect the rules," Rogers said. "I never had any problems with kids using them inappropriately in my class. We spent a lot of time talking about their digital footprint and that what they do can be tracked." Teachers said participation is up and discipline problems are down in classes using cell phones, and Rogers is looking for ways to expand the phones’ uses. "It’s fighting a losing battle to ask them to leave them at home," he said…

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