Seminole County program aims to help get students connected to the Internet


SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - These days nearly everyone has a cellphone or tablet that they can use to surf the Internet.
In Seminole County school officials encourage students to use the technology to stay connected to teachers and class work.
But not every student has a wireless device, and county officials are working on a program to change that.
"We have some students who have 24/7 access and we have others who are limited because they don't have the devices," said Seminole County School Superintendent Walt Griffin.
On Wednesday school officials launched Operation Wireless. They plan to collect old phones and tablets so that students can use them for school work.
High school junior Heath Rivers is his school's expert with an application called Blackboard.
With a device and Internet access, students can get class assignments, study guides and lessons.
"Anything you would need to be successful in the classroom, this app has it," said Rivers.
Without a device to connect to the Internet students would have to print out hundreds of pages of documents and might not get updates as quickly as their peers.
"It's not fair if some students can't afford or can't get access to wireless devices," said Rivers.
Teachers and the school system have been embracing technology in a big way for classwork.
The school board recently approved funding to have Wi-Fi on the campuses.
"We're very ambitious with what we think we can do and hopefully the community will help us to accomplish that," said Patti Boggs, with Seminole High School.
Officials said if the pilot program is successful it could spread to other schools.