BYOT: Is it the great equalizer or causing a wider divide?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when bringing a cell phone or other hand-held digital device to school could earn a kid detention or a visit to the principal's office.

Today, however, many schools aren't just allowing kids to tote their tablets, smartphones and laptops to class — they're asking students to bring in their tech. School officials say the push will help districts save on increasingly costly technology budgets and help educators meet new, stepped-up academic standards that rely heavily on technology.

So-called Bring Your Own Technology, or BYOT, programs are on the rise, experts say, particularly as 23 percent of American teens have a tablet computer, 47 percent have smartphones, and 78 percent have cellphones, according to a Pew Research Center study.

But will students who can't afford the technology be left behind?

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