Blount Schools considers ‘Bring Your Own Technology’
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
The Blount County Board of Education will soon consider a plan that could speed up the district’s technology efforts.
Students in grades 3-12 could bring their own technology tools to campus under the proposed Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) plan, said Dr. John Dalton, supervisor of pre-K-5 and technology. They would be expected to access the Internet through the BCS Guest Network, which would be available in every district building.
Currently, Blount County Schools doesn’t permit the use of any personal communication devices throughout the school day.
The Policy Committee would need to revise two policies — 4.406 and 6.312 — in order to implement the proposed plan. Committee members are expected to consider the policies at a future meeting.
If the school board approves the plan, school officials would like to pilot it at one site, identify any areas of concern and resolve them prior to systemwide implementation, Dalton said. William Blount High School has expressed interest in piloting it.
School officials advise that the district’s technology plans don’t end with the BYOT plan. In fact, they begin with it.
After implementing the plan, the district would like to start working on its larger digital conversion plans, said Director of Schools Rob Britt. “Everything begins there.”
The personal device plan supports several key initiatives, such as common educational devices, personalized instruction, teacher support and teacher training, Britt said. “We’d be able to build our house.”
“We’re trying to get to 1:1 (one device per child), and this plan is the quickest way to get as many of these devices into a student’s hands,” Dalton said.
Expectations of use
If the plan is adopted, Blount County Schools expects that:
• staff would exercise discretion about the use of personal devices throughout the school day;
• the personal device’s primary use would be educational;
• students would only use appropriate educational applications on their devices;
• the personal device’s use wouldn’t be a distraction to educators or students or disrupt class in any way;
• students wouldn’t electronically communicate with others from their personal device unless it’s a designated time or they’re directed by their teacher to do so;
• students would be permitted to access the school’s network, not private networks;
• students wouldn’t make any attempts to circumvent the school’s network security and/or filtering policies;
• and students wouldn’t distribute pictures or video of staff and students without permission.
Students would bring their personal technology devices at their own risk, Dalton said. Blount County Schools won’t be responsible for personal devices that are broken, lost or stolen while at school or school-sponsored activities and won’t be responsible for each device’s maintenance and upkeep.