Published on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 by Andy Ramirez
Last year the school board instituted a zero tolerance technology program on campus. Typing school reports during lunch and texting were both seen as unacceptable and disruptive to the learning environment. Most students were left scratching their heads as to how these two acts could be grouped under the same category of activity. One was quite obviously disruptive and disrespectful, but the other was clearly a positive attempt to get ahead on their studies.
Thankfully, the district has adopted a plan that should make students and teachers both happy. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and My Instructional Technology (MIT) program is that middle ground. These new programs allow students to use their own devices in a school environment, opening doors for many opportunities.
Although the prior technology systems weren’t designed to smother creativity or stomp on academic advancement, MIT is a slightly better system. The program allows students to bring their own devices such as laptop computers, smart phones and tablets from home with the consent and supervision of a teacher or another instructor. This gives students a certain easeof access that could help them with their studies, and it allows the person the advantage of only having to remember the login of the computer or device they are so used to utilizing at home.
Another change was the substitution of the home drive for a google drive, which left some people confused at the beginning of the year. While this was done with the best intentions, it can tend to be a slight nuisance when one needs to quickly save or retrieve documents (People who work up to the bell). The BYOD program can help save students some time and stress. Now they don’t have to upload and download documents in order to save them. Students can also use google drive from school technology, as well as their personal device at home, making their work available to them at all times. They instead have the luxury of only having to save it to their desktop once and being able to immediately access it at a later point. It allows the student to only have to use an interface they are familiar with and can use easily, such as personalized computer preferences and shortcuts, making the execution of tasks and completion of work much easier and more efficient. Time management is of critical importance in fast-paced classes and can make the difference between an A and B for some students.
Another advantage is the money the school district saves on having to buy technology for each individual student or for every class. Buying a personal computer for every student is too expensive for a school district’s budget, but the BYOD program helps balance that difference while still allowing the use of educational technology. The school can focus on closing the gap by utilizing what students already have and by providing technology for those who don’t.
I think allowing students to bring their own technology to school is a great way to offer the same level of education at a lower cost, saving money and some stress. In classes where everyone does not have constant access to school-issued laptops, home computers can help students keep up and have the ability to do their individual work. At no extra charge to the school, that saves money that can be spent on new textbooks or funding the school’s numerous clubs and organizations.
One of the most important things about the BYOD program is that it is controlled. I don’t mean to say that students at Bryan High are irresponsible, but I think it’s still important that it is a regulated and controlled tool, just like all other school programs. Thankfully, the administration already thought of that, and requires you to connect to the MIT server, complete with all the filters and blocked websites that accompany the school’s internet. This is a great way to ensure that students are able to enjoy all of the benefits of technology without all of the distractions, making the most of the tools and opportunities provided.
This new technology program is going to be a great addition to the tools available to students, helping to make the most of all our resources and helping to maximize each student’s school experience.