‘Bring your own device’ catching on in schools

Managing a classroom when students bring different devices can be a challenge, said Jill Hobson, the district’s instructional technology director. The district’s IT team boosted its wireless access points to support the pilot, and it maintains a separate wireless network for students to avoid placing students on the same network as administrators accessing sensitive student information, such as that contained in a student information system.

No one was required to adopt BYOT for their schools, said instructional technology specialist Tim Clark, but as word spread “it took off in a viral fashion among our school leadership and among our community.”

Clark said anecdotal evidence indicates that theft and discipline issues regarding technology have gone down. Devices include iPads, netbooks, laptops, and gaming devices.

“BYOT isn’t about the devices themselves—kids bring in a variety of technology—it’s about creating constructive change in teaching practices,” Clark said. “Just like kids bring pencils to school … they bring their technology to help them whenever it’s appropriate.”

“Students become information producers rather than information consumers,” Hobson said. “They’re engaged in higher-order thinking.”

Instead of wondering what students can do with their devices, Hobson said district educators ask students to create or brainstorm ways they might use their devices for learning purposes.

Laura Ascione

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