The Port Arthur News
Technology continues to permeate our everyday lifestyles, in the form of Macs, iPads, and cell phones capable of doing everything short of tying your shoes for you.
Some school districts have grown weary of fighting the invasion of cell phones in the classroom — thus, the birth of the BYOD phenomenon.
BYOD, an acronym for “Bring Your Own Device,” is simple. The policy would permit cell phones and other devices, such as laptops or iPads, in the classroom for educational and research purposes.
“We understand that’s a major paradigm shift, and we know there'll be some bumps along the way that we have to deal with,” said Stuart Kieschnick, Nederland Independent School District assistant superintendent of curriculum. “But our society is coming to a time where technology is commonplace for the kids. It's just time for this change.”
Currently, students are not prohibited from bringing their devices to school, but if they are caught using them, the device is confiscated and the student must pay a $15 fine to retrieve it at the end of the day.
“They still should never be turned on until the teacher says devices are allowed,” Kieschnick said. “And the students should never be talking on their cell phones.”
Students will have the option to connect to the school’s wireless Internet, Kieschnick said, or they can use their own 4G network, although the acceptable-use rules will remain the same. He added that devices will only be permitted at the teacher’s discretion, and the district will not pressure its teachers or its students into adopting this policy.
“It's not a system that is mandated,” Kieschnick said. “If the student has a device, that's fine. If a student does not, they will in no manner be made to feel left out.”
Other districts, like Port Neches-Groves, are also steadily implementing BYOD into their policies. PN-G’s recent bond issue provided one-to-one computing for the district’s secondary students, so BYOD has not been as urgent a need as it may have been at other districts, said assistant superintendent Brenda Duhon. However, a team of PN-GISD teachers and administrators is currently researching, developing and implementing a BYOD plan, and the technology department is strengthening the district's wireless network backbone at all campuses.
“We will be piloting such a plan on a limited scale for the 2013-2014 school year,” Duhon said. “Currently, secondary students are not allowed to have their electronic devices turned on during the school day, but this will obviously change as we move forward with BYOD.”
NISD’s new bond called for Wi-Fi systems being put in place at all schools, although it won’t be 100 percent complete until after the summer of 2014, Kieschnick said. However, the reception for BYOD has been positive — overwhelmingly so from students. The district will provide detailed information to parents and students shortly.
“We’re going to take it slow,” he said.