School considers BYOD phone use in class

School considers BYOD phone use in class

Summary: To circumvent funding issues, a school wants students to use their own mobile devices in class.

TOPICS: Mobility, Telcos

Rock Hill school, South Carolina, is considering allowing their students to bring their own devices into class.

BYOD schemes are a contentious issue within the educational system. The possibilities of theft, loss or damage, incurred liability, appropriate use and potentially causing social divides between the 'haves' and 'have nots' are all elements that require consideration, and yet Rock Hill school believes that the advantages outweigh the negative aspects of such a proposal.

Leaders and public figures within the district want students who own personal devices to be permitted to switch them on within class.

Funding is one of the main issues that have prompted the idea. If students are able to bring in their own devices, then this may free up the limited number of devices the school owns -- including Netbooks, music players and tablets.

Associate Superintendent Luanne Kokolis said:

"We want to have a one-to-one (one device for each student) environment, but we don't have a funding source."

Kokolis also revealed that the proposal is part of an information session, and the school board will not vote on the issue until later in the year. If the notion is approved, then it will be the next step that the district will take in order to integrate mobile technology within the education system.

In order to solve the problem of incurring liability for damaged, stolen or lost devices, parents would be required to sign a consent form that exempts the school and district from any responsibility. In addition, use would be restricted to classes that teachers specifically want to use mobile technology in.

Currently in the district, every school possesses wireless Internet. Shared between each school, there is approximately 5,000 computers, over 500 iPads and almost 100 iPods available to students. If the proposal is accepted, and parents are happy to accept responsibility for the devices, then the pressure of limited resources and budget will be lightened.

Image credit: Oliver Wales


Topics: Mobility, Telcos

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  • There are a lot of students that can't afford it, though . . .

    There are a lot of students that can't afford it, though . . . schools [i]must[/i] educate students who are of all income levels and have parents of all income levels, including the poor.

    How do you BYOD if you (and your parents) can't afford your own device?
    • You are missing the point

      Students who have smartphones or computers with 3G connectivity would be able to use them in school during classes. Students who do not have these devices would use equipment that the school provides. It just acknowledges the fact that many students have access to better equipment than schools can provide.

      My school district is starting to look at implementing this type of program. The real key here is revamping the curriculum to avoid regurgitating facts from Google and move toward more evaluative/analytical activities that demonstrate deeper understanding of concepts.
  • Good, Bad, and Ugly

    Just great! Only those who have money are going to have the advantage: note taking, calendar reminders, class group coordination, sample tests, and extra did-you-know fun facts distributed by a teacher's text msg.

    You can't incorporate devices into a curriculum unless all students have some sort of access to that information; however, it may prove cheaper for schools to loan their limited supplies to those who are unable to purchase their own.

    I wonder, since the school is requiring a waiver to limit their liability, do those who cannot afford their own devices in the loan program get the same luxury? I would hate to see some kid who couldn't afford their device be loaned one by the school and then given a bill when the device gets stolen or lost. In fact, I think this sticking point makes the whole program unfeasible since some parents would reject the devices over the expensive liability, leaving some students in the dust compared to their peers.
  • Used laptops

    While new gear may be beyond the reach of some families, I would imagine that an "E-bay special" used laptop for $100-$250 would be within their means.

    Install Linux Mint and enjoy a snappy response from an otherwise (with Windows) slow system.

    Public Schools should, in my opinion, recommend and encourage FOSS software. MS Office should not be the price of admission to education.

    • FOSS is not the only answer

      You are correct that MS Office should not be the price of admission. Strict adherence to FOSS can cause problems though, because current open-source word processors don't play nice with MS Office. Softmaker offers a $35 school license for a product that does play nice. I've used it for years in a MS shop and no one knows the difference. Available for Windows and linux systems. I am a user, not Softmaker marketing.
    • I have to disagree

      You have to standardize on something, and that would be what the majority of poeple use or own already.

      Now you have someone with a buggy Linux Mint distro, WindowsXP, Windows7, Ubuntu, (or someother modified Linux Distro) opperating in a totaly different way from system to system.

      Recommending and encourage FOSS software doesn't help much once the issue arrise, in fact it's the major detriment - the end user is the tech support person.
      William Farrel
      • FOSS in schools

        I think some people do not realize how little schools actually pay for software from a company like Microsoft. There is also funding available for the "poorer" schools to get it cheaper or at no cost. In the grand scheme of things it is better to teach the students the software and skills they will be using when they go to college or into the work force. That is why using standard/mainstream software is almost always the better option in many cases.

        As far as BYOD goes this could have huge security issues. I cannot tell you how many students already use their phones/ipods and other devices to cheat and in some cases try and circumvent security. Kids will be kids after all.
    • Not always

      "I would imagine that an 'E-bay special' used laptop for $100-$250 would be within their means."

      Not always. When it comes to the budgets of low income families, it's very dangerous to assume they can even afford $100. Remember that a K-12 education is required by law, regardless of the financial situation.

      You pretty much can't assume [i]anything[/i] about anybody's budget if you're requiring education by law. Even the unemployed have to send their children to school, if their children are in the appropriate age levels. You may be in total bankruptcy and defaulting on your loans - but you still have to send your kids to school.