Several school boards have chosen to pilot the project of having students bring their device to school, also referred to as bring your own device (BYOD).  A sample of schools (including our school) are currently creating, reviewing and assessing the policies that are associated with this project.  We are adopting several strategies to ensure the success of the program for the schools, teachers and students involved.

Although research shows that there are several pros and cons associated with attempting such a project, the benefits to the classroom and student learning environment outweigh any apprehensions.  As technology continues to change, improve and develop, students are demonstrating a significant increase in the level of engagement and a decline in behavioural issues.   By allowing your child to utilize their own technology devices, they are able to excel at assignments and tasks as they are passionate about learning new technology tools and software tools that encourage their creativity.

Concerns regarding students bringing their device to school and the possibility of it being lost or stolen are evident.  However, the majority of our students already do carry a cell phone or device around and will require that the device be placed in their locker where it can be secure when not in use.  This will ensure the protection and security of their own device and provide the student with a sense of responsibility for taking the appropriate care of it.  I encourage you to establish rules and routines for your own child and address concerns that you may have with your child.  You may want to discuss your preference for specific storage and transport to and from school with your child in order to establish a routine that you are comfortable with when the device is being taken between the home and school.

By encouraging BYOD, students will have access to their own familiar device to create, complete and submit their assignments.  With the limited amount of computers that are available for classroom or that are functioning for student use, students with their own devices will be given the opportunity to gain am ease and comfort level with their own current device that is accustomed to their own settings and applications.  Students who do not have a device will be provided with one of the Blackberry notebooks that are available within our school.  This ensures that all students are able to gain knowledge and valuable experience with a variety of software tools being used in the classroom.  BYOD would have a decrease in cost at the school level and allow funds to focus on other areas of this program such as WiFi and bandwidth concerns.

Our school has developed very clear user agreements and policies along with specific consequences associated with misconduct.  By introducing BYOD within our school, it is vital for students to have policies to adhere to and have clear expectations for the use of their device in the classroom.  This opportunity provides students with a sense of respect and responsibility for their education and their device.

According to the ministry of education, students who participated in BYOD projects were more engaged and achieving more success.  Students are increasing their expertise and knowledge with technology tools that they are currently using for personal use.  Additionally, the programs that they are utilizing within the classroom are enhancing their learning and developing their technology skills and the trends associated with the 21st Century learner.



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