September 11, 2012, 12:44 PM —
I have two daughters, one in 5th grade and one in 7th. Unfortunately, due to my poor self control (and occasionally my wife’s) they already know far too many four-letter words. The older one, though, recently learned another one, and she learned it at school: BYOD. When she first said it, I didn’t even wash her mouth out with soap.
In 2010 the U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan officially recommended that educators consider implementing BYOD policies:
Only with 24/7 access to the Internet via devices and technology-based software and resources can we achieve the kind of engagement, student-centered learning, and assessments that can improve learning in the ways this plan proposes. In addition, these devices may be owned by the student or family, owned by the school, or some combination of the two.
Starting this school year our school district has officially adopted a BYOD policy for grades 7 through 12, after a successful pilot program last year. Having written about BYOD in the workplace recently, this got me to thinking about BYOD in schools. What special issues or concerns are involved?
BYOD in an educational environment (or, as you’ll also see it referred to, BYOT - Bring Your Own Technology) has some of the same issues for schools and students as it does in the workplace for companies and workers. Things like who bears the cost of replacing stolen or damaged devices, network and data security, support questions, enforcement of usage policies etc.
But BYOD in schools also introduces some new questions, such as:
What about students who cannot afford a laptop, smartphone or tablet?
Who supports the devices should technical problems occurs in the classroom?
How do you ensure compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)?
How do you deal with cyber-bullying that may occur via these devices?
These are big issues to consider when implementing a BYOD policy in school. Given all these questions I decided to review how (or if) the new policy in our district addresses them. Here’s what I found: