Bring-Your-Own-Device: Student Electronics as Teaching Tool
In September, the Hopewell Valley Regional School District will launch a pilot program in which teachers will let students sometimes use their cell phones, laptops, electronic tablets and other devices in the classroom as teaching tools. Students without such devices will be able to use one of several provided in their classrooms.
The district administered an online survey in May on the proposed Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. More than 1500 parents, staff and students from Timberlane Middle School and Central High School responded to the survey.
“It’s a reality that students are bringing their own electronic devices to school,” said Superintendent Thomas Smith. “In fact, the district technology department says that approximately 1,000 wireless devices are in use on our district network on most school days. Many teachers have incorporated these devices into their classrooms and we would like to support those who would like to expand their use.”
One such example of this use is in high school statistics. Adam Shrager, a Central High School teacher of math and Advanced Placement Statistics, hosts a texting competition as part of his stats class. Students use their cell phones to text each other specific messages, are scored for speed and accuracy, and a texting champion is crowned. Students then analyze the data from the competition, such as texting times, and factor in variables such as cell phone carrier, type of phone, and experience of the user.
“This activity has been so successful that other AP Stats teachers from around the state and the country started doing it after I gave a presentation on it at a national statistics teachers’ meeting,” said Mr. Shrager.
In the May district survey, 91 percent of the 1,030 responding students said they would take part in such a BYOD program, and 89 percent of respondents said they would take part in the program when a device was provided for them in the classroom.
Of the 459 parents who responded, 86 percent said they would allow their children to take part in the program, while 14 percent said they would not.
Of the 83 staff members who responded, 80 percent said they would take part in the BYOD program, while 20 percent said no. Of the staff members, 96 percent said they agreed with asking students to sign a pledge promising not to access inappropriate content on their devices while at school. Of parents responding, 94 percent agreed with that policy, while 89 percent of responding students said they would do so.
The program will be piloted with one teacher on each student team at Timberlane Middle School, and one teacher in each subject area at the high school. Parents and students in those classes can opt out of the program if they wish. They will be asked to sign a release to participate and an agreement promising not to access inappropriate material online while taking part in the program.
You can see full results of the survey at the HVRSD website at http://www2.hvrsd.org/News/Pages/surveys.aspx.