New ‘bring your own device’ policy creates technology opportunities


The beginning of the 2015-2016 school year will also mark the beginning of Unit 5’s new Bring Your Own Device (or BYOD) policy which allows students to bring their own portable technology, like tablets and laptops, in the classroom. Though the policy comes with several restrictions, requiring a wireless connection, the ability to support flash, a keyboard, and minimum screen size, it gives students in grades 6-12 the opportunity to learn using with technology that may be more modern or advanced than the school can afford to supply.

Though the district will provide technology that students have the opportunity to rent for a fee, many speculate that students will end up bringing their own gadgets to school when the policy is enacted. After students were given their own Unit 5 selected laptops, a strategy that received fairly negative criticism, many hope that this plan will offer a better solution.

Mrs. Nichols, one of Wests’ librarians, believes this could be a great plan.  “I’m excited about this. I have two kids in junior high who have not had great devices supplied by the district in the past.”

Though optimistic, she also noted that she had some concerns about the policy. “It’s going to be pretty obvious that some kids will have very expensive devices and some will not have anything. I don’t know how the district will work around that.”

Senior Will Teichman had similar thoughts about the policy. “What about the kids who can’t afford them? Though this is a good idea to integrate technology into the classroom, it puts a lot of stock in the students’ financial ability to get a good device.”

Though this and other problems do exist, the staff is doing everything they can to tackle such issues.  Mrs. Haferman, another librarian at West, explained that the whole district is hard at work. “We haven’t been given much information on this yet. A lot of it is in the works and we’re trying to make sure this runs smoothly.”

Though this change could be significant to student’s experiences at school, some seem to think that it won’t be difficult to get used to the new policy.  Jacob Dyre, a senior at West, said, “I figure it won’t have too much of an impact. Kids are already using their phones for everything.” Sophomore Billy Wetzel also added that this change will probably not be a huge change, because technology has already been integrated into the school system so much.

Though there may be challenges in enforcing this new policy, the outlook seems to be positive. More details will be offered in the spring, but for those who want to learn more about the policy, information is currently being displayed on the Unit 5 webpage.