Wednesday, January 14, 2015

BYOD

     Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a growing movement within school districts. My district is currently considering adopting this policy. Instead of moving ahead with wild abandon, the tech director for the district is getting input from all stakeholders to make sure the policy can be maintained when implemented. I appreciate the cautionary approach and see this adoption as a win-win for all involved.
     Students already surreptitiously engage in using their own devices during the school day. True, some of the uses may be inappropriate such as texting questionable content or intimidating posts. However, I believe that to be the exception rather than the rule.
    To prepare students for the world around them, educators need to teach and model the proper use of mobile devices. What better way to do this instruction than when using a student's own personal device? This is one benefit to easing the BYOD restrictions. 
     Some teachers in my district have unofficially allowed students to operate their own devices in the classroom. What's the benefit? Students are connected anytime to the internet and its vast resources. No longer dependent on a tablet or laptop, students can access the internet and use the information they find there accordingly.
     Districts across the nation are beginning to adopt BYOD policies; some have had these types of programs implemented with few problems associated with this practice.
     Although our district has not adopted said policy yet, technology staff continue to study and evaluate both the benefits and downfalls to such a program. I am impressed and  grateful for the approach our tech director is taking with this and other technology-related issues.
     A soft and steady pace is best utilized when adopting new policies. Students who don't have access to a wireless device is one area of concern. However, those are a small percentage whose need can be covered by the classroom teacher in the form of a tablet or laptop.
     Opponents to BOYD state that students may wander into sites they would do better to avoid. That's true. But where better to teach digital citizenship and accountability than in the classroom? Having a BYOD policy would encourage that discussion between teachers and students and offer teachable moments for teacher's to take advantage of.
     My district continues to study the issue with the hope of making a recommendation sooner rather than later. Some teachers may need to adjust their attitudes about this new practice, but in my opinion, this policy just makes sense. It reduces the financial burden on districts technologically, and it offers students more freedom to access the internet anytime/anywhere.
     I am encouraged by the steps taken and the care involved in making this decision. We may not be the first batter in the box, but by adopting this initiative, I believe my district is hitting a grand slam.

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