BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

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1 BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Goal: As school districts budgets shrink and the need for technology resources increases, districts must find creative ways to bring technology into the schools. We are exploring several district sponsored initiatives such as low cost tablets, Chromebooks, grants, etc. Bring Your Own Device (or BYOD) is also one of those initiatives. Our goal is to explore BYOD and see if it s a match for Littlestown. How does this affect me? We will spend time asking for input and preparing our teachers, parents, students and infrastructure for this initiative. Please give honest input and educate yourself on BYOD and how it has impacted classrooms across the country. If students had devices, how would you incorporate technology into learning? How would you manage the classroom with those devices? What training will you need? Everyone will be affected by this in some way whether or not you choose to use the technology in your lessons/classroom. Students are already bringing devices to school even if they are just cell phones. Let s educate ourselves together so we can better participate in this digital age. What is BYOD? BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. This is an initiative where students are able to bring any device or a device from a set list of predetermined devices. We can specify minimum requirements for the device and are in control of the parameters including how we use the devices instructionally. It is a lower cost in terms of hardware for districts looking to integrate technology more fully. It s more sustainable and puts the funds back into the classroom. There are, however, higher costs in terms of more internet bandwidth, more network requirements, etc. It s a balancing act and takes careful planning and coordination district-wide to pull off an initiative of this level. I am very aware that there are many questions and concerns surrounding BYOD here at Littlestown from students, staff, parents and administrators. We will do everything we can to address all of these concerns. What if a student does not have/cannot afford a device? Part of BYOD is providing a number of devices for students who cannot afford their own device. This can be handled in many different ways including any of the following: signing a device out to a student for a number of years providing low cost devices for people to purchase with or without payment plans signing a device out to a student on a limited time basis ie daily, weekly, quarterly, etc. providing each school and/or classroom with a limited number of devices for students to use Part of our responsibility as a school district is to ensure no student is left out of technology integration because he/she cannot afford to purchase a device. We will establish a process including how we determine eligibility for a district device.

2 Will I be trained on how to use the devices? While we cannot train you on every device because there are too many, we do have a wide variety of devices that we can work with teachers on how to use. Here s the thing to remember..it s less about the device and more about what you want students to produce in the end. Must they all use the same device, same application, same technique, etc.? Sometimes the answer is yes. In those cases, we have to know what the students all have available ie Google Docs/Drive or we must require students to have certain applications on their devices. This is something that we will need to determine as a district. The requirements cannot be prohibitive for students, but we can definitely ask students to have things like the Google Drive app or an app that allows them to read an ebook, etc. These items will need to be communicated to students and parents, common amongst a grade level, school and/or department and easy to find. For teacher training, our focus will be on things like classroom management with every student having a personal device, strategies for using them to enhance learning and instruction and how to allow students to facilitate the learning of applications. One thing that is really difficult to do is to step out of the way and allow students to figure out and share how to use an application. Does this replace a teacher? Absolutely not. We still need to provide you training too, but don t be afraid to learn from your students when it comes to technology. We will provide many learning opportunities and identify teacher needs before we roll out BYOD at Littlestown. Will I HAVE to use the devices? As with any initiative, it s important for people to understand its purpose and see how it integrates and meshes with what they currently do. There is no requirement to use technology all the time, every day and for every lesson. It is, however, not something we can actively resist any longer. Will you be penalized for NOT participating in BYOD? No, but it certainly is advantageous to you and your students to be aware of how to effectively use technology in an educational setting. Will someone come around and monitor you participating in BYOD? No, but we would love to see it used. Technology does not always have a place in every lesson just like a ruler, pencil, pen, calculator, etc. There are appropriate times for its use and sometimes..those times might surprise even you! I m nervous about using technology. How can I let students use technology when I don t even know how to use it or know the minimum? This is an excellent question and one that affects many teachers and administrators. It is perfectly fine to be nervous and even worried. However, know that as we move through this even if we think we have EVERYTHING worked out, something is bound to go wrong. That s ok too. This is a district-wide effort, and we will provide whatever support is needed to be successful.

3 We ll provide training opportunities for teachers and even students if needed. One of the greatest ways I ve seen this be successful is for teachers to communicate the desired end result to students. For instance.the desired end result is for you to use technology to tell me which president had the biggest impact on American history and why. Then provide some criteria. Even provide some formats for the students if you want to restrict those i.e. it can be an electronic presentation (PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.), video, electronic document, etc. so there are parameters. You can even set criteria on the number of reasons to be given, facts, etc. If you want the students to use a specific application about which you know little, give them each 1-3 minutes in the application. They must each find 1-2 things to share within their group and then the group shares with the entire class. In no time, the students have the basics needed to work the program. Again, you can even stipulate the basics in every program how to open, save, format, etc. This takes some of the load off of the teacher in terms of knowing everything. Does it help if you have training on applications? Absolutely, but it s impossible for you to know everything about every device and application. And remember.www.google.com is your friend and can help you find the answers for many application questions. Can I bring my own device? If we have opened the staff wireless again, then absolutely you can bring your own device. What will students be able to DO on their devices? They will be able to do whatever their devices are capable of doing Internet, Google Docs/Drive, etc. Every student s device will look different because it is their personal device. We will need to establish some minimum criteria as well as minimum software/applications to which they ll need access. Will they have the same internet filter they do now? Yes. As long as they are attached to our wireless network, they will be filtered. If they choose to use their own telephone network for data i.e. Verizon, AT&T, etc., they will NOT be filtered. Many school districts stipulate this as a criteria for students bringing their own device. They state that if a student uses their devices data network and not the school s network, it is a punishable offense. We have to determine what is right for Littlestown. What if I don t want students to use the devices all the time? You are in control of your classroom. If it is not an appropriate time to use the devices, say so. Will all students cooperate? We d be crazy to think they all will. This is where we will need to establish policy and procedure for consequences for students who use their devices when they are asked not to do so. How will we be able to voice our concerns?

4 We will establish a committee for the sole purpose of planning BYOD. This committee will be to whom you voice your concerns. You can always voice concerns to your administrator or me directly. The committee will have the direct influence on how we implement BYOD in Littlestown, though. What will you do to educate us on BYOD and how/when it will come to Littlestown? I hope to educate you all along the way. BYOD is happening in many places. There are schools that opt not to do it or start to do it and stop. They all have varying reasons. We must determine what is our best fit, educate staff, parents and students and then run the program. We can educate you in many varied ways training sessions, FAQs like this one, question and answer sessions, videos, s, etc. I will use whatever means works and gets you what you need to be successful and feel supported during this initiative. Will we communicate this with the public and our parents? Absolutely! This initiative needs their support and help, and we will have informational meetings for parents and community to answer as many questions as we can and to talk about this initiative. This is big for Littlestown and I d like to celebrate our willingness to try it if it fits and to embrace our parents, students and community as we will need their support. I do have one favor to ask and that is that you allow the official communication about BYOD information to come from the Technology Office and/or the Superintendent s Office. Too often, when something is communicated without all of the information, it can be alarming or disconcerting. That does not mean you cannot talk about it with each other, parents, and students, but please do not officially announce it until we have done the work as a district to prepare for it. I ve heard BYOD has failed in many places. How do we know it will be a success here? That is another excellent question. Many times it fails through lack of planning, lack of support for our teachers and lack of integration into the curriculum. We need to do all of these things successfully in order for our BYOD to be a success. I am also not against calling it quits if it truly is a failure here at Littlestown. I, however, believe that this is a positive move and passionately believe in technology s impact on learning, instruction and efficiency. BYOD is simply one more component - a large one, but just another piece. Why can we not just buy devices for all students? How much would that really cost? We could pursue this. With approximately 2200 students K-12, we would need to spend anywhere from $250 to $1000 on devices for each child depending on what we purchase. The Chromebook (Google laptop) is about $250 and a full size laptop is about $1000. That means the cost of the low end is $550,000 for Chromebooks and $2.2 million for full size laptops. I suspect that at this cost, we would have to let go of other initiatives in order to support this. This is also not a one-time cost. We would have to account for repairs (I always include 20% of the cost of the device in repairs annually). We also would have to replace devices that are lost or broken and,

5 over time, those that are too old to work well (about every 4-5 years). Could we spread the cost over several years? Yes, however, it is again a cost that we are not currently incurring to that level. How much do we currently spend on technology computer replacements and could this money be used to buy a computer for every student? We currently replace or repair computers on an as needed basis. We spend approximately $50-75,000 annually on computer replacements. That is for staff, student and lab computers. Based on the numbers for even the lowest cost device, we would far exceed this cost and would come close to it in lease payments. This would leave no room for office staff and teacher computer replacements. Could the budget be increased? Certainly but then money comes from somewhere else. We just have to make a decision as a district and consider all options. When will be a BYOD school? We will begin this process in the very near future by forming the committee to help answer and investigate these questions as well as site visits with various schools in the area which have made this leap successfully. We are hoping to make a decision on BYOD and how we implement it by the end of 2013/14. I also hope during that time to have a pilot classroom or two who are willing to try this with us and investigate the ups and downs. What if I want to do BYOD in my classroom for 13/14? Please do not institute BYOD at a classroom or school level for the 13/14 school year. You could drastically affect our network performance and rollout as planning goes into place to accommodate a certain number of devices. We need to know what is on our network so that we can best support everyone. In addition, there are policies and communications to be developed and shared with key stakeholders. I am looking for some pilot volunteers so if this idea intrigues you, let me know. I m eager to have committee members as well as pilot teachers. What if my students are already bringing in devices? For the 13/14 school year, you would handle this as you would in past years. If students have cell phones and your school has a no cell phone policy, then enforce it. I am very aware that students have this technology and are bringing it to school. We cannot stop it no matter how hard we try. Our job is to educate ourselves and our students on appropriate use of technology and how to use it to enhance learning. We also need to learn from each other and our students as they will show us things we want to know as well as some we might like to avoid. Embracing BYOD can have incredible impact on learning. Avoiding student devices and punishing students for simply having a device are archaic mindsets on a global scale.

6 How will I manage this when every student has different things on their device? You will be able to specify what students need to do to use the device in your classroom. For instance, instead of asking students to have Microsoft Word, ask them to have an app or piece of software that allows them to type a document. An example might be the Google Docs/Drive app. Or ask them to have an app/software that allows them to edit photos. Whatever the need, think in terms of what are you asking students to do instead of what specific program can you use to accomplish it. You ll never know all the programs and neither will your students. We will provide more training and planning in this area for teachers. What if a student is using a device inappropriately? Follow the same discipline procedures as you would for any other discipline problem for students. The challenge will be defining inappropriately as a district, school and community. You keep saying we need to establish policy and procedures and communicate with the public. Who will do all of this? Who is the WE? Excellent question. The WE is the district as a whole and a subcommittee formed to iron out the BYOD policies, procedures and training. If you are interested in serving on the BYOD committee, please let me know. I will be recruiting members early in the 2013/14 school year. It is my goal to have the committee made up of teachers, administrators, board members, parents/community members and students. For each portion of BYOD, we will communicate what is happening and solicit feedback. We can t do everything everyone wants to see happen, but your feedback will be important to help us flesh out issues we might not otherwise know.

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