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Teachers talk tech in the classroom

Second grade teacher Emily Ruffer raised enough money to bring laptops and tablets into her classroom. 

Cell phones, laptops and tablets. Chances are your child has access to at least one of these.

As technology increases in our everyday lives, teachers like Emily Ruffer are making sure to integrate it into their classrooms.

"It's important for students to have all the advantages that they can so they can be successful in the future and technology is a huge part of what their future will looks like," she said.

A report by Project Tomorrow surveyed more than 3 million students, teachers, administrators and parents on technology in education. The report found more than 40 percent of k- thru second graders have access to laptops and tablets. Ruffer wanted her second grade class at Grand Blanc Academy in that percentile. She raised enough money to get five laptops and two tablets for her students. .

"We have a computer lab but I wanted my students to be able to use it daily and through out the day," Ruffer said.

"We're such a technology driven world...I can't even imagine someone not being able to have that practice this day in age," Wendy Bill said.

Bill is the english, language arts teacher at Grand Blanc Academy. She has 30 laptops in her classroom and most of her lessons use online programs that mimic texting.

"I've seen some great improvements, most definitely," Bill said.

Both Bill and Ruffer have integrated apps into their curriculum like Kahut and Class Dojo. Students can access quizzes and homework while parents can check in on their student.

"Parents can just download it and message me if they have a question and access their students portfolio," Ruffer said. "So different pictures and videos specifically for their student."

The Project Now report says some benefits of mobile learning through laptops and tablets include, personalization, increasing student engagment and improving school to home communication.

While technology can make learning easier for kids and parents, it can also introduce new dangers.

"Even with our internet blocking and protective security and all that they still find ways to Google things," Bill said. "So you really have to have a watchful eye on it."

"I use a supervised user account for each of the students so then it notifies me if they go to a website that's not on the list," Ruffer said.

Ruffer says at home, parents can set up child locks to keep kids in one specific app or program.

The Project Now report found that most of the time kids are actually using the technology to do their homework. A relief for teachers and parents, who are the internet gatekeepers.

"I hope that it becomes a natural curiosity for them and that they can use it as a gateway to get to other places and see other things," Ruffer said.

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