USING their mobile phones in class would normally spell trouble for pupils – but not at Inverkeithing High School.

Kids have been going online during lessons with full backing from their teachers, with staff encouraged to bring in their devices too.

Fife Council hailed the pilot scheme, which ran for three months in Inverkeithing and St Andrews and saw personal phones and tablets used in learning, as a success and said it would now be offered to all high schools.

Solutions specialist Jason Omond explained: "There has been an ever-increasing drive to allow staff and students to use their own devices in schools for years now and to support this, Fife Council has developed an 'Anywhere, anytime' strategy.

"It is hoped this approach will help to embed technology into the curriculum, giving staff and pupils the skills required not only for today but for further education and future employment."

He continued: "There is a higher than ever ownership of devices across socio-economic groups so this wasn’t seen as a socially divisive matter.

"Most pupils already take their personal devices into school in one shape or form.

"Anywhere, anytime learning just moves them from below the desk to above the desk and allows them to be used in a controlled manner."

Right now, staff and pupils in Fife schools are unable to use personal devices to access the network or internet in schools.

Mr Omond explained: "Pupils must use a school device, meaning that their access is limited depending upon device availability in the school.

"Some schools are better provisioned than others, leading to an inconsistent level of access to digital resources across Fife."

In the pilot at Inverkeithing, all pupils and staff had access to the internet through wifi, on their own devices, with the technology incorporated into lessons.

Teacher concerns, including the possibility of bullying, unsafe sharing of files, being unable to support such devices in the classroom and lack of confidence in the use of digital ICT, were allayed.

Pupils signed a safe user policy and filters were in place to prevent access to 'unsuitable' sites, with staff able to see who was logging on and when and what sites were being viewed.

And fears that children who didn't have a phone or tablet could miss out were also addressed.

Parents and carers were told their child could opt out and that 'Anywhere, anytime' learning was "not something that is expected of pupils, rather something which is an option should they want to use it".

He added: "Schools will always have a device for pupils when required."

There were some issues with patchy wifi coverage and slow network speeds, a need for more training and how to better embed the strategy into the curriculum, while one member of staff didn't wish to log on due to concerns about privacy.

However, the education and children's services committee heard on Tuesday the strategy would be rolled out to other high schools, and possibly primary schools, although it will not be mandatory.

Mr Omond told councillors: "By bringing their own device into the classroom, pupils and staff will have the comfort and confidence of using a familiar device, with familiar software, and the added convenience of being able to take it home to continue working on the same device, giving them 24/7 access to their work.

"This will also help encourage parental engagement at home by allowing pupils to show parents any work they have been doing in the classroom on their own device."