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In its first year, BYOD policy brings ups, downs

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Students strolling in the hall one earbud in the other out. The bell rings, students head to class, and the kids finally take their seats. As they slow the chatter they turn around and face the board. As they read the strokes of the Expo marker, their eyes light up: “Bring your own device tomorrow.”

The rules have changed. School districts are now allowing students to use their own personal devices for educational purposes. But how vigorously can this open opportunities for students and teachers? On a daily basis, students bring their cell phones/tablets to jam out in the hallways, but now their expectations have been risen to bring it for other reasons.

The 2015-16 school year brought more than the 6th grade center and new electives; this year there, the Bring Your Own Device policy was enacted. Now students are able to use their phones in class to complete class assignments using websites such as Remind, NoRedInk, and multiple Google platforms.

“I think [the policy] has offered students new ways to learn, and in many cases, increased student engagement,” Principal Cristi Watts said. “Students in a lot of classes are able to use Google Classroom and work electronically on projects.”

Many students agree that the BYOD policy has provided ways to support their grades, receive extra help, and get more definite answers. For example, with the increased focus on BYOD, many ROMS teachers have begun using the Remind system in class. Via the app, students are encouraged students to complete and turn in their work on time. Teachers are able to set up Remind updates when an assignment is due or what students should prepare for an assignment in advance.

“I think this new policy is great,” 8th grader Brynlie Campbell said. “It helps me work more efficiently. I get to work with my classmates more, and when I’m absent or if I have late work, it really helps me get my work in.”

Most teachers also agree that the BYOD policy has benefited the learning environment. Every day, students bring their devices for their own purposes. Now, students are able to use those same devices for educational purposes .

“I think [the policy] has helped to enhance lessons, to make them more interesting and interactive,” science teacher, Hannah Schwieger said. “Students can have a chance to participate in lessons rather than just listening, which I think can be extremely beneficial.”

However, the policy isn’t without issues. ROMS does not have enough devices for every student, plus the wireless connection isn’t strong enough to sparse along the campus. And then there are the students who can’t focus on educational activities when using their phones.

“You still get kids that want to play with other aspects of their phones, like texting or games.” 8th grade ELAR teacher Sescelli Redd said. “The one major issue I have is connectivity to the Internet for all of the kids. It is also difficult when there aren’t enough devices to meet the number of children.”

Even with the ups and downs it brings, the BYOD policy is expected to stay in place for as long as the district sees fit. Many staff members and students have agreed that the policy is a district-wide improvement. The BYOD policy is one of the many ways that the school district strives to open more learning opportunities and build a stronger learning community.

“[Superintendent] Dr. Niven has a vision that our students should learn the way they live,” Watts said.

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The student news site of Red Oak Junior High School
In its first year, BYOD policy brings ups, downs