BYOD in school not as easy as ABC

Schools have lots to think about before letting students BYOD

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* The school district is not responsible for replacing or repairing lost, stolen or damaged devices.

* The devices are not required, and when they are to be used to enhance learning, students without one will be provided a district-owned device when available.

* Teachers and school staff are not required to troubleshoot technical problems in the classroom.

* When using the device in school, students must use the school wireless Internet access (meaning they cannot use their own 3G or 4G service, if they have it) so that the school can implement filtering to meet CIPA requirements.

* Students bringing their own devices must sign an Acceptable Use Policy, which forbids things like cyberbullying and posting or transmitting photos or videos of other people on campus.

* Students bringing their own devices must also sign a Student User Agreement which, among other things, gives the school the right to inspect the students personal device if there’s reason to believe he or she violated the Acceptable Use Policy or other rules or restrictions.

All in all, I think our district’s policy is pretty well thought out and addresses a lot of the key issues. A few things caused me to raise my eyebrows (Are there enough district-owned devices for kids that have one? If a device malfunctions in class, is a kid then SOL? etc.) but, all in all, it makes sense.

My main concern, however, has to do with cost: I can easily envision a device being lost or damaged (see the time my 12 year-old accidentally doused her non-smart cell phone in hairspray, almost ruining it). Also, currently my daughter only has an old iPhone 3GS hand-me-down; she’s already pushing hard for a tablet for her upcoming birthday and this will give her arguments good leverage. My wallet thanks you, Mr. Superintendent.

Despite all this, I’m still in favor of BYOD for my kids, so I guess it’s time to go tablet shopping with the 12 year-old - during which she’s likely to learn a new four-letter word (or two).

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