Currently, the district has implemented a bring your own same device (BYOSD) policy using Apple iPads, while administrators determine how best to move to a BYOD initiative and avoid roadblocks that might crop up when students use devices with different operating systems or functionalities.
The district decided to allow students to bring their iPads after examining the ecosystem of apps and uses for them, and district administrators also took into consideration that the district was already, for the most part, an Apple district.
Administrators also are examining equity issues and determining how best to meet the needs of students who may not be able to purchase their own devices. Potential solutions include rental or purchasing programs run through the district, or maintaining a building set of devices for student use.
Tower said she hopes that the district’s current BYOSD policy will transition to a general BYOD policy.
Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools implemented a BYOD policy after technology was all but forbidden in schools.
“In Georgia, it was against the law to use a mobile device at school,” said Bailey Mitchell, the district’s chief technology and information officer. That has since changed, and Mitchell said that district ed-tech experts work with individual schools to identify their BYOD initiative’s instructional potential. Forty teachers from 7 schools, called the Trailblazers, collaborate and share best practices that are disseminated throughout the district.
“We found that you can’t take for granted that students, by default, know how to transition from their social device use outside of school to the instructional use of their device in the classroom–that takes some mentoring and some guidance,” Mitchell said. “Really, it’s about giving up some control.”
The district established an “outcome of responsible use” stating that it trusts students to act responsibly and use their devices appropriately.
“The advantage to students not having the same device is that it really enhances their ability to think differently about how they’d approach a problem or make choices because different devices have different authoring tools,” Mitchell said.