How comfortable would you be allowing your children to bring their iPhone, iPad or laptop computer to school for use in class?
As noted in today’s article, students in 13 Wake County schools will pilot a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program this school year. Before the pilot starts, parents at the schools will get information about the program, including the four guidelines governing how students will use their devices.
Click here to view a PowerPoint on the pilot.
The first rule is a “no touch” device guideline in which teachers would not be touching the student devices. Wake doesn’t want to be held liable for any damage that might occur with these smartphones, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices.
“A student’s device is a student’s device,” Marlo Gaddis, Wake’s senior director of instructional technology and library media services, told the school board’s student achievement committee on Wednesday.
“Our teachers would not have ownership of working on a student’s device if there was an issue,” Gaddis continued. “So really having the idea around liability that a student was responsible for their own device rather than a teacher, obviously. Or if another student touching the device and something going wrong and then worrying about the liability.”
James Sposato, principal of Wakefield Middle School, which is one of the pilot schools, said they didn’t want teachers to serve as a “geek squad” helping with tech issues on student devices. He said the agreement that parents would sign before their children could bring their devices would specify that other students may be touching the devices in a group.
Sposato also said that if students are violating the code of student conduct, such as for bullying purposes or videoing other students, the teacher would touch the device and take it away.
The second guideline, Gaddis said, is that students can only connect through the school’s Wi-Fi network and not whatever network package they may have. Gaddis said the main reason is that using the wifi network would put them behind the district’s Web-filtering software that blocks access to sites such as Facebook.
The third guideline is that students can’t print off their devices. They’ll have to either put the documents on a flash drive or on the Cloud for printing on a district-owned device.
The fourth guideline is that communication between teachers and students must take place on their district email accounts.
School board member Jim Martin asked for a modification on the fourth guideline because he said many students don’t use their district email address. He said that as long as teachers used their district email accounts that a record of any communication with students would exist.
Administrators said they’d review the issue for Martin.
While it’s not officially a guideline, Gaddis said students would be expected to bring their devices fully charged. But she said that teachers would likely need to provide areas where the devices could be charged in class.