EDET678 Emerging Technologies: Essential question: Does every school need a “BYOD policy?

Aleta May

EDET 678 Emerging Technologies

Week Nine: Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?

Essential question: Does every school need a “BYOD policy?

At Wikipedia, it says there are other terms similar to bring your own device (BTOD); bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP, and bring your own personal computer (BYOPC). Since these are part of the business world, we need to get on board with setting policies for our school districts to prepare students for future careers. Maybe we need to go to observe, interview and further research a variety of businesses who already have policies in place. They have already negotiated at least privacy issues, and workplace etiquette we can replicate.

Northeast of Atlanta is a large suburban school district. They began by setting up a team with chief academic officers (CAOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs) who created an online portal for housing “lesson plans, digital textbooks, videos, grades, and more helpful information like “grades, test scores, attendance, discipline records, and professional-development tools.” (Heitin, 2016, p. 1). Part of the effort was in order to analyze the second set up data that would flag students beginning in 3rd grade who were at risk academically (of retention or dropping out). Then the team would target specific weaknesses and develop extracurricular activities.

Over the nearly 10 years I have been in my school district, I have seen similar efforts build. We started Rubicon for English that would guide teachers through classroom texts. Additionally, online curriculum was locally developed locally and in Yup’ik (a language that had a history of being primarily a spoken rather than written); and had had been primarily created by teachers.

Our school district, like the district northeast of Atlanta, is focusing more and more on ways to make district wide technology available and useful to teachers, and in our case, across a very large expanse of land accessible by plane, boat or snow machines. I would like to see us use more online discussion boards so that students can meet with each other or educators across a variety of villages (we have about 27 schools). We do see the use of polycom courses increasing, but discussion boards are collaborative and reinforce learning. I like the idea of students having Dropboxes on their own devices that they bring to school for turning in assignments.

Forsyth County, Ga. was one of the first in the country to quickly bring in a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Although it has not been many years since schools banned cell phones, now new policies for having student BYOD come to the schools. With 87 percent of Writing Project teachers expressing that “these technologies are creating an ‘easily distracted generation with short attention spans” (Holeywell, 2013, p. 2) in advanced placement courses, this just speaks loudly to me that we need policies and shared ideas between teachers for how to teach students to use devices formally in school. For example, students speak to their friends in informal ways; but when they give a speech to a crowd, they need to use formal speech. This holds true with how to use electronic devices in class—especially with advanced students! We are preparing students to understand electronic etiquette in the workplace and how that might look using the same device at home with friends on social media. Also, taking away an electronic tool for research is akin to in the old traditional days of hard copy Encyclopedia sets being held back from students, or even textbooks for that matter, because they may tear a page or write inappropriate comments inside these.

Policies for BYOD begin with discussing updating and refreshing student devices that students own—or even if devices are checked out to students like textbooks would be. According to Heitin (2016), two very big challenges with using such a variety of devices are “protecting students’ privacy and making sure systems are interoperable, or can communicate with one another” (p. 3). Besides, in K-12 Bluepring, “3 out of 4 students prefer tablets over textbooks!” (p.1). Maybe vendors need to come onboard with, yes, making money, but providing affordable freedom of use in a district and promise to keep the books up-to-date as an advantage over hardback books. Also, “2/3 of students prefer their own mobile device for learning”—most companies provide books on their own tablets.

Another major issue schools face is shrinking budgets. Keeping up with technology equipment, especially since we are still purchasing textbooks in most school districts instead of having them downloaded onto iPads or laptops at reasonable prices from companies we purchase them from, is very difficult. Tucker (2016), maintains from her experience as a High School English teacher the importance of having “a robust infrastructure that can support large numbers of devise on Wi-Fi” (p. 26). She also emphasized that professional development is highly important. These both outweigh heavy purchases of hardware when students can BYOD instead. I know that at our school, we need more Wi-fi Airport devices in our school, and on top of this, their capacity needs to be increased so we can access the bandwidth we do have. Before even setting BYOD, we need to put into place, quickly, a plan to have more students on line at a time.

In North Carolina, a statewide education plan was developed by Corn’s organization to analyze data, in order to communicate the true needs of their school system to the based on an 18-month Digital Learning Plan (DLP). They honed in on “infrastructure and devices, professional development, instruction and assessment, and funding” (Nagel, p. 34). Some results of the DLP that resulted from the study was a focus on “the creation of a larger network of PD facilitators devoted to helping teachers adjust to digital-learning concepts, such as blended instruction” (Noonoo,, 2016, p. 36).

Education reformers may be and have been met with persons high up in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology who begrudge the opportunity for BYOD policies based on being “potentially illegal” (Nagel, 2016). From another perspective, a very high percentage of people have personal devices that include tablets and phones that may be highly valuable for students to use for accessing research. Maybe one of the issues of concern is the civil rights of students who may be issued devices by the school inferior to most of their peers. This is another policy concern that needs to be addressed at our school (via the school district policies). There are also concerns with providing Internet access in students’ homes called “hot spots” for those who do not have access at home.

Finally, K-12 Blueprint, has an embedded BYOD Toolkit Resource Matrix (see: https://www.k12blueprint.com/sites/default/files/BYOD-Toolkit-Resource-Matrix.pdf)

Bring in Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA), and Privacy Laws will need to be a part of policy as well. This topic is very extensive, so it will not be deeply addressed in this blog post.

References

BOYD K-12 Blueprint. Retrieved on (June 10, 2016). https://www.k12blueprint.com/toolkits/byod  Tech& Learning Clarity Innovations.

Bring your own device from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved on (June 10, 2016). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bring_your_own_device

Four Challenges that can cripple your school’s BYOD Program (December 22, 2013). Teachthought: We grow teachers.   Retrieved on (June 10, 2016). http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/ There are several BYOD Toolkit PDFs at this site.

Heitin, Liana (2016). Ga. District Puts Data to Work. Education Week, 35(26), pp. 1-5

Holeywell, R. (September 3, 2013). BYOD Policies, Growing More Popular, Create Challenges for Schools). Retrieved on (June 10, 2016). http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/gov-byod-policies-create-school-challenges.html

Nagel, D. (2016). Technology and equity. T.H.E. Journal, 43(4). thejournal.com

Noonoo, S. (2016). The digital learning plan every educator should read. The Education Digest, pp. 33-36. www.eddigest.com

Tucker, C. R. (2016). Creatively teach the common core literacy standards with technology: Grades 6-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, A SAGE Company.

Link from Lee on twiter class for July 14, 2016: pic.twitter.com/XLz

4 thoughts on “EDET678 Emerging Technologies: Essential question: Does every school need a “BYOD policy?

  1. unicyclepro

    I am very lucky to be in a district that values technology, and encourages its use in the class or in any manner that would increase student achievement. Our high school has an array of airports in all parts of the school, a large amount of laptops, iPads, Chromebooks, and graphing calculators. Not quite a one-to-one school, but probably close. I’ve talked to the IT director on a regular basis, and even though we have the devices for students to use, there is always the issue of maintenance, repair, and loss of equipment. No technology lasts forever. (Well I’ve used some 1990s graphing calculators that still operate great!) But our budget is shrinking, and the district can foresee the use of BYOD in the near future. So they have put a lot of their funding to the infrastructure(increasing broadband width, increased wi-fi access through airports, increased monitoring of network use) It is working, but teachers are slow to use BYOD in the class. Soon we will be forced to have students use BYOD. It will be a challenging transition.

    Reply
    1. aletakmay Post author

      Hi Gerald,
      I’m so glad your district is so supportive of technology. Ours is as well. I believe it would help to keep our IT’s across such a wide spance of land area up-to-date with repair a little better; with that said–this is no small job!! I’m glad your 1990s graphing calculators work great; I hereby grant a hopeful blessing on your getting updates as well. With 2017 you may soon have calculators that are 30 years old–I want the best for you.

      I agree, after all the reading that moving funding toward infrastructure is majorly important. We have great devices, and I believe we need increased wi-fi access through airports for the same reasons you describe.

      Thanks for the conversation!

      Aleta

      Reply
  2. triciaturley05

    Aleta,

    I knew that fairness was a big concern through my own research on this topic, but considering it a matter of civil rights takes that fairness to another level. I don’t think that fairness would be a problem if the BYOD policy was used for those students who just choose to bring devices, if they are not required to use them in class. However, requiring students to bring their own devices to use, or providing students with a device that is inferior to those devices of their peers is a big deal and should be made a big deal. Schools will need to take extra precautions to prevent this inequity from occurring.

    Reply
    1. aletakmay Post author

      Tricia,
      The point you make between students just being allowed to choose to bring devices, as opposed to being required to bring devices is just a good way to compare/contrast the differences. Thank you for your input!

      Reply

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