There's probably not a school board policy chairperson alive who can keep up with trends when it comes to electronic devices.
Some school district policies still make references to such long-ago tech favorites as beepers and pagers.
Now, York County is seeing another wave of changes to school districts' approach to cellphones, iPads and laptops in the classroom this fall.
Gone are the olden days when the sight of a cellphone in class -- in fact, there was no iPhone in the olden days -- would cause automatic confiscation and a disapproving look from a teacher.
With a rash of new board policies around York County in the past year, the standard thinking is now, "If you can't beat 'em, monitor their wireless usage and incorporate the device into classroom learning."
"We really see the devices as supplements to what we currently have. It now has opened up a whole new arena for students," said Jared Mader, Red Lion Area School District's director of technology.
BYOD: Red Lion is one of several districts that have recently implemented or are about to implement a BYOD program at the secondary level.
BYOD refers to Bring Your Own Device.
Red Lion had about 25 percent of its high-schoolers pilot the program last year, and now it will open up to all high schoolers, with a focus on getting students to produce digital content or do classroom research.
The iPod Touch is the most popular device used, Mader added. And Red Lion, unlike many districts, set up a separate wireless network just for students and staff to minimize security risks to district data.
Change of thought: In the olden days, circa 2005, many districts were adopting new board policies on electronic devices. There was a proliferation of cellphone usage, and concerns rose about sexually explicit texting and
cheating on tests.
Red Lion, at the time, decided to stop allowing high-schoolers to use cellphones between classes; they were already prohibited in the classroom. West Shore required the student to get the principal's permission before bringing a phone to school.
Compare that to now, as West Shore states on its website, "We believe that unleashing the power of these devices in a productive manner could have a profound impact on the learning opportunities for our students."
In 2009, Rona Kaufmann was principal at William Penn Senior High School in York City, which still bans having electronic devices visible during the school day, lest the students risk having them confiscated.
She even had an "Electronic Device D-Day" crackdown after getting tired of students checking their phones during classes.
Now, as South Eastern School District's superintendent, Kaufmann is promoting the use of gadgets under a teacher's supervision.
Kaufmann said it's important to teach students the "soft skills" of cell phone etiquette and how to be a professional in the gadget age.
A pilot BYOD program at the seventh-eighth grade level is being rolled out this fall. Kaufmann said it makes sense to expand use of smartphones instead of making students lock them up during the day.
After all, "when's the last time you opened up a World Book Encyclopedia?" she asked.
The Encyclopedia Britannica, for what it's worth, went digital this year and no longer has a printed version.
Debate: All of these digital changes in schools aren't without trepidation.
"It's something you keep debating. It's a thing of the present," said Robert Krantz, Dover Area School District's superintendent.
Will students, now equipped with better, faster phones than ever, be more likely to cheat with a quick Google search?
Districts are also making sure anyone with an electronic device uses the school's wireless network, which is filtered and monitored. Students can't access the Internet through their own phone plan, either, since that could allow them to access pornography or other banned sites.
"The use of a 3G or 4G connection would actively bypass those protection measures that we have put in place and would be considered a violation of Acceptable Use," West Shore states on its site.
Dallastown only allows tablets or laptops at the high school level, partly because that forces students to use the filtered wireless network and not a 3G data plan, said assistant superintendent Josh Doll.
"We found more success with that," Doll said.
South Western is encouraging students to use smartphones and the like for learning, while also understanding it's going to take an adjustment period for teachers used to only having access to district-owned computers for Internet use.
"There are going to be some bumps in the road," said Karen Sheely, the director of special education and instructional technology.
Inequality: Not every student has a smartphone or iPad, which can cause inequality, Sheely said.
To get around that, teachers are told to plan ahead so students can be told when a device will be used in class. And students are encouraged to sit in groups to look at a device together, officials at several districts said.
No district appears to be looking to buy iPhones or iPads to even out any disparities, but in-house laptops can help address the problem.
But how do teachers make sure students are actually doing class work and not playing Angry Birds or doing Google searches for "Twilight"?
Keeping students on the school's wireless network is one solution. But mostly, it's the same fundamental question that has plagued teachers back to the days of passing love notes and doodling on desks.
"That's the age-old classroom management discussion," Red Lion's Mader said.
The age-old days of pagers and beepers.