KOCHI (Kyodo) A lot of schools ban students from using cell phones on the premises, but Kochi Chuo High School takes the opposite tack.

“Education is not catching up with the development of mobile phones. I want to educate students to use them properly and with good judgment,” Principal Katsuji Kusui said.

Students at the school use mobile phones as a dictionary to check kanji and the meaning of idioms. They will also be used to research the genealogy of historical figures because it is easier to access the Internet with a mobile phone than with a computer, officials said.

However, the school doesn’t let students send personal messages during class. Staff from a mobile phone company are invited twice a month to lecture on cyber bullying and keeping personal data safe.

“I’m looking forward to see how class will turn out. Because I can use my mobile phone freely, I feel like I’m being tested on how I use it,” said Rina Umeki, 16, a first-year student.

Hidehiko Nakano, 26, lets students use their phones in his math class as a calculator, except during tests.

“It’s possible to send math questions tailored to each student’s level to their mobile phone,” Nakano said.

The school used to suspend students caught using a mobile phone three times. The regulation was changed when some teachers said they were being remiss in their roles as educators by banning mobile phones without teaching students how to use them properly.

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