Beginning second semester of the 2013/14 school year, the Hamilton City School District will permit students to use their own devices at the Freshman and High Schools. Why implement Bring Your Own Device at the Hamilton City School District? There are a number of reasons (some of which are nicely summarized here), but in particular:
We find that many (yet certainly not all) of students have their own devices – be that a smartphone, their own laptop, tablet or iPod Touch. They’re already using these devices, so it makes sense for us to leverage this usage in an educational setting. BYOD increases engagement and allows for greater differentiation in the classrom
It goes without saying the a BYOD policy allows a district to get closer to a 1 to 1 device ratio without incurring the costs of a 1 to 1 program. This isn’t to say BYOD is cost free. Funds are required to invest in a solid wireless infrastructure as well as investing in devices for students who may not be able to provide their own devices. Still, there are definite cost savings in a BYOD program.
BYOD Considerations and Questions
What devices can be used?
Devices that conform to the uses defined by the Acceptable Use Policy and building procedures may be allowed. This includes laptops, tablets, eReaders, and smartphones.
That said, students and staff should take into consideration the following items and how they may affect learning experience in a classroom setting:
- Battery life. The district does not guarantee charging stations.
- Portability of the device.
- Age of operating systems and software on the device.
At minimum, the district recommends devices that run a modern web browser.
Who is responsible for these devices?
The student. The district assumes no responsibility for theft, loss, damage, or vandalism to devices brought onto its property, or unauthorized use of such devices. Students and/or their parents are responsible for their devices at all time.
The district will not provide any technology support to personal devices.
The district suggests parents consider contacting their insurance provider to determine if they have any options to place their device on a policy. If a family purchases a new device, it is suggested that an extended warranty be purchased as well.
What type of software is needed?
With a BYOD program, students will come with a variety of devices. The challenge for a school district is to provide software tools that can be utilized by all students on any device. This requires considerable planning.
By far the easiest way to deploy and use applications is for those applications to be web based. Web based applications require a browser which is included on all modern devices.
The Hamilton City School District continues to evaluate and support web based applications for its students and portal. Once web based tools are determined, it helps to have central portal where students, staff, and parents can access the collective resources of the district. Hamilton City School District uses a portal, located at http://hcsdoh.org, to collect these resources.
The main web based applications used by the district are Google Apps for Educations and Schoology. Google Apps provide, among many other things:
- Email (currently only for staff members)
- Office applications (documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms)
- Picture editing
Schoology is the district’s Learning Management System where students can complete online classes.
Where can devices be used?
The Freshman and High Schools will define locations that fit into “Zones of Use”. These zones are defined as follows:
Areas where device use is explicitly not allowed. These areas include, but are not limited to, restrooms, locker rooms, nurse’s office, etc.
Areas where device use is defined by the person(s) of authority (teachers, principals, etc.). These areas include, but are not limited to, classrooms, labs, auditoriums, etc. The person of authority determines if the device furthers the educational experience on any given day.
Areas where students are free to use devices. These areas include, but are not limited to, hallways in between bell changes, the cafeteria, and common areas.
To be clear, zone management defines where devices may be used. It does NOT define how devices may be used. How devices are used is defined by the Acceptable Use Policy. A violation of the AUP in a green zone can still result disciplinary action.
What about printing?
Students will not be able to print from their personal devices.
What about students who don’t have personal devices?
The Hamilton City School District realizes that not every student has access to personal devices or the internet. To that end, the district continues to invest in devices for students to use while on campus.
Final Important Policy Note
Again, the Acceptable Use Policy that clearly defines how personal devices may be used while on campus. Violation of the Acceptable Use Policy are dealt in accordance with the Code of Conduct.