The rules have changed, and now BYOD or using cellphones in class will be expected, not forbidden. BOYD is short for Bring Your Own Device, and includes smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
The trend is growing quickly, mirroring businesses that allow employees to use their own mobile devices.
Robert Zywecki, director of curriculum, instruction and technology for the Sussex County school district is pleased with the change in attitude. “We’re changing the way we teach,” he said. “It’s about getting the kids access to the tools they need to compete in our global society.”
High Point Regional is one of the state’s newest members of a growing BYOD club.
It’s a dramatic departure from the previous approach that banished student smartphones to lockers and backpacks.
But it comes with some tricky issues. Schools need to level the playing field and provide devices for students who don’t already own them. They also must balance their use as a powerful learning tool with their potential for distraction.
“We are teaching digital citizenship. We are giving them access, but it can only be used for good things,” Zywicki said.
This week, some 35 teachers and administrators from High Point attended a two-day Google Boot Camp at the high school in Wantage to learn the possibilities that come with being a Google Apps school. In September, the 1,000-plus students must agree to a respectable use policy that sets out specific rules for the use of the Wi-Fi network and allows administrators to spot, and stop, inappropriate use.
Since not every student from the five sending districts will own a device, High Point has purchased Chromebooks to loan students.
Chromebooks are laptops designed for basic tasks that can be easily accomplished over internet connections.