Logan schools smart phone program worries parent

Thomas Garcia

By Thomas Garcia

tgarcia@qcsunonline.com

A parent is voicing concerns over the use of a smart phone system at Logan Schools.

“I had no idea these phones were even being given to my son,” said Shayne McSmith of Nara Visa.

McSmith said his son came home from school but instead of text books and paper he had a GoKnow smart phone.

“These phones had no guards or restrictions in place,” McSmith said. “They even have a camera which they can take into locker rooms.”

McSmith said he attend a school board meeting and displayed how the phone could access applications from the app market that displayed sexual positions.

“This was right at their fingertips,” McSmith said. “I had no problem navigating the phone and finding the adult-based app. I’m not near as technology savvy as teens today.”

There were problems with the phones being too open at first, said Logan Superintendent Richard Hazen.

“As with all technology there is a proper way and an inappropriate way to use it,” Hazen said. “These phones have no calling or texting function.”

Hazen said the phones were collected from the students and programs were installed to limit what they can access. He said there has also been a network filter installed on the phones.

“This allows us to monitor what they are accessing and how they are using the phone,” Hazen said.

Hazen said there are still ways for a student to by-pass the security though if a student misuses the phone, it is taken away.

“If the school issued laptops to the students I am sure there would be similar concerns raised by parents,” Hazen said.

Hazen said if a parent is concerned about their child having access to the smart phone or simply does not want them to use it, they can turn them in to the office.

“We just want to provide our students with the best technology, and educational tools available,” Hazen said.

Hazen said the Logan School Board approved the GoKnow mobile learning system which was purchased for $60,000. He said the system includes 150 phones, software, updates and maintenance.

“The students need to learn how to use this technology as they prepare for college,” said Lynn Birch, a school board member.

Birch said the use of technology in college and work is constantly changing and evolving.

“So much is being done with computers, tablets and smart phones,” Birch said. “We don’t want to send our students out in to the world unprepared.”