Monthly Archives: October 2017

BYOD Practices and Policies for Schools

BYOD Practices and Policies for SchoolsMobile devices are pretty much universal these days. From the streets to the living room, everyone is gazing down at their smartphone. But what about the classroom? Sure, 1:1 initiatives have tried to place a laptop, Chromebook or iPad into the hands of every child.  However, the modern student is most likely to have their own mobile device.

School districts are recognizing this as a potential opportunity. These devices will change how we teach many subjects. What used to be the completed with a simple pencil and paper is now being done on mobile devices. Bring your own device (BYOD) offers schools a way to supplement the use of 1:1 and introduce children to their tech integrated future.

Getting Started With BYOD

While BYOD isn’t hard to implement, there is still planning involved and multiple considerations. Here’s what you should think about with a BYOD Program:

Define Your Objectives and Policies

How are mobile devices going to be used in your classrooms? Consider whether devices will be an extra resource or the focal point of projects. Once you’ve defined how devices will fit in class, you can consider the actual policies. Setting policies allows students and teachers to have a framework for proper device use.

Buy-in and Communication

The people who will be impacted by the program (students, parents, teachers, administration, and staff) should be included in the development of the program. Understanding how the technology will affect each group is key to creating a program that best suits the needs of the school.

Enforcing the policies you’ve set is much easier when communication with teachers and administration is open. Teachers must understand the rules as well as how to enforce them in the classroom. Educate both teachers and administrators on the consequences of not following policy and procedure.

Communication with students and parents will help to learn the types and brands of devices students will bring to make the necessary preparation.

Examine and Prepare Infrastructure

Network and security concerns can be greatly intensified with the addition of devices. Start off by considering your wireless network. Will your wireless network’s performance take a plunge when everyone brings their own device?

Does your existing infrastructure has enough bandwidth to handle high traffic? Obviously, having your network go down as class starts is frustrating to everyone. If it keeps happening, your BYOD program becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Install Antivirus programs and security measures to protect student and teacher data.

What About Students Without Devices?

The unfortunate reality is that not everyone can afford to buy a device. If the classroom environment necessitates the use of a device, ensure no student is left out. A great option is to allow students to rent devices. In case a student forgets their device, having a policy for supplementary devices also helps.

BYOD programs are a way of integrating the real world into the classroom. By taking advantage of the common nature of smartphones and tablets, you can cut costs and enhance the classroom.

A School Boards Guide to Monitoring a School District 1:1 Program

A School Boards Guide to Monitoring a School District 1:1 Program

School districts nationwide have rolled out 1:1 technology initiatives in the hopes of transforming classroom learning. As more states adopt these initiatives, more districts have gone through the initial trials of adoption.

Defining 1:1 Technology

One-to-one initiatives are supposed to change the way teachers teach, and students learn. It’s defined as providing students with direct access to computers with the goal of every student having the ability to learn anywhere at anytime. More than that, 1:1 is sought out as a way to radically transform the classroom.

Putting laptops and mobile devices in the hands of students isn’t necessarily the end goal. Instead, 1:1 extends past the actual device and embraces the role of technology in the classrooms of tomorrow. With 1:1, students are expected to be more engaged and active learners. ¬†The embrace of 1:1 initiatives represent a fundamental in the way students are taught.

Lessons From Districts That Have Adopted a 1:1 Program

When the Miami-Dade school district first sought to adopt a 1:1 initiative, officials examined previous initiatives from other school districts. Several common issues were found:

The Los Angeles Unified School District was forced to halt progress and form a committee over the price of the preloaded curriculum.

North Carolina’s Guilford County District encountered problems with many of their newly issued devices. These problems included: overheated batteries and broken screens. New tablets were given to thousands of students during the next school year.

Texas’s Fort Bend Independent School District was forced to drop their initiative to use iPads with a new science program altogether. The initiative ran into multiple problems that included a spotty Wi-Fi.

After gathering the anecdotes from previous 1:1 initiatives, Miami-Dade’s superintendent, and school officials worked to avoid the problems encountered by other districts. To ensure a smooth roll-out for its 354,000 students, Miami-Dade anticipated problems with digital content availability and launched their initiative in waves instead of all at once.

How Iowa’s School Boards Planned Their Initiative

School districts can learn the right actions to take when implementing a 1:1 initiative. One school board in Iowa managed a successful roll-out with careful, step-by-step planning.

The West Branch school board’s planning begun with a discussion. The implications of a 1:1 initiative were discussed with by the West Branch CSD technology committee. During professional development, staff considered the integration of 21st Century skills.

Over time a series of dialogues involving parties such as the school board, board of directors and administrators culminated into action. The West Branch Community School Board began purchasing devices for students and teachers.

As the school year began, students received their laptops. The school board continues to carefully monitor the effects of the technology not only in the classroom but on students, staff, and parents. As the program continues to be revised and observed, further development and improvement of the program comes along with it.

Miami-Dade and Iowa school districts tackled the challenges of a 1:1 roll-out with research and planning. As a result, both schools managed to bring the benefits of 1:1 to hundreds of schools and thousands of students.

Need help with rolling out your districts 1 to 1 initiative? Contact us, we can make your adoption smooth sailing.