Bring Your Own Device is a go

This year, students’ backpacks will go from carrying binders, pens and pencils to iPads, laptops and cellphones. The School Board approved the Bring Your Own Device initiative this past June, which will allow students to bring in their own electronic devices, such as a tablet or smartphone, to the classroom to be used as part of instruction.

“More and more our students are learning and thriving in a digital world and we must provide educational opportunities which include that technology,” said Superintendent James Merrill. “The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative supports the school division’s strategic plan, Compass to 2015, and ensures we are providing a 21st Century learning environment for our students.”

The School Board approved the BYOD plan after a thorough review of the division’s practices and policies regarding technology. The division spent several months researching other technology policies in school divisions across the state and the country. An extensive survey of parents, teachers, and students also was conducted to gather feedback on the proposed implementation.

“When the students bring in their own devices, they’re more engaged. They’re more interested. They don’t leave anything behind,” said Lacy Krell, a teacher at Salem High School who was a part of the BYOD pilot program. “When they take their device with them, they take with them the history of everything they searched that day. They take the text that we’ve used. It’s really kind of extended my classroom beyond the bell.”

While students will be allowed to bring their own devices, they will not be required to do so. If technology such as a laptop, iPad, or e-reader is needed for a lesson, it will be provided through school resources. Some students, however, may feel more comfortable using their own devices. In those instances, the district will not be responsible for the loss, damage, or theft of a personal device.

Students will still be expected to follow all division “acceptable use” policies and regulations regardless of the type of technology they are accessing. For more information on the Bring Your Own Device Initiative, visit the school division website at http://www.vbschools.com/curriculum/byod/.

For more of Lacy’s comments, and others from students and teachers participating in the pilot program, visit http://www.vbschools.com/curriculum/byod/ and watch the embedded video. Also, feel free to review the list of frequently asked questions surrounding BYOD, and if you still have concerns about the implementation of this initiative into your classroom, contact your school’s administrators.

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