How is your school using Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

I am hearing more and more from friends in Gwinnett County about their schools using Bring Your Own Device to class, and I want to know more about how the kids are actually using the technology. (Here is a PDF about Gwinnett’s BYOD program.)

Devices are outlawed at our middle school and I assume the elementary school too. My 12-year-old knows she can listen to her iPod before school but not during school. They aren’t even supposed to take it out of their backpacks.

I absolutely think that technology has a place in the classroom and can benefit the students greatly. At the university level, my students brought in iPads, iPhones, laptops – whatever they wanted to use to take notes, to explore and to learn.

I was helping in my daughter’s first-grade class two weeks ago and the assignment was for the kids to write about where they would want to visit in the world.  I started talking to one of the little girls and she just didn’t have enough knowledge about continents or countries to come up with anything. So I said well what about a safari in Africa, what would you see? So I pulled out my smartphone and started searching for images of safari. The little girl loved the photos of the animals and the savannah and that spurred her imagination. From the photos we jumped to well what would you hear, what would you smell, what would you feel on safari?

The teacher noticed what I did and brought me over a laptop so we could have a bigger screen to search on. I repeated the process for the next center group, and I think showing them the images made a huge difference on their writing product.

I had been in her classroom earlier in the week giving a presentation on the continents. The teacher opened two tabs for me on the smartboard and I clicked between a Prezi presentation about the continents and Google Earth. The kids just loved it.

Here is an article from about a month ago on my FAVORITE techno-education blog called Mind/Shift about how Forsyth County is using BYOD:

“Instead of this just being a technology initiative, it really is an instructional initiative, so all of us from different departments can get on the same page,” said Tim Clark, coordinator of instructional technology for Forsyth County Schools in Georgia.”

“Forsyth started out by creating a learner profile, a set of criteria the school district wanted students to learn while in school. That profile includes: seek knowledge and understanding; think critically and solve problems; listen, communicate, and interact effectively; exhibit strong personal qualities; and engage and compete in a global environment. The profile helps guide all approaches to learning in the district….”

“Kids already know how to use their devices, but they don’t know how to learn with their devices,” Clark said in an edWeb webinar. It’s the teacher’s role to help them discover how to connect to content, one another and learning with a device that they may have only used for texting and Facebook previously. “It’s about the kids being empowered in the classroom to make decisions about the ways that they are learning,” Clark said.”

“Inquiry-based learning grounded in authentic projects go hand in hand with BYOD, Clark said. “What we are trying to do is get to transformative use of tech, where kids are doing things they wouldn’t be able to do without the tech,” Clark said. He recommends using big picture questions to frame ideas and help students identify the many smaller questions within the topic. “I expect that if I go to a student and ask them what’s the big question you are working on they’ll be able to tell me and talk about,” Clark said. “There’s not just one right answer. I want more questions to arise out of that one big question.”

“The most important thing is to take the focus off of the final product and place it on the process of discovery. “Find ways to ask the right questions to lead students to discover the apps they need to show what they know,” Clark said. He admitted that while the goal is to use the technology to transform learning, much of the time teachers and students are actually only adapting an old task to the new medium. Often that means work can be turned in more quickly and graded more efficiently. The most important thing is to take the focus off of the final product and place it on the process of discovery. “Find ways to ask the right questions to lead students to discover the apps they need to show what they know,” Clark said.

Is BYOD just Gwinnett and Forsyth or is the Georgia-wide?

How do you deal with the fact that many student can’t afford a $500 iPad to carry to school or don’t have a phone? (None of my kids have phones.)

How do you keep it from being stolen? Is that stressful to the students?

How are they using them at class time and for homework? How do the devices enhance the learning process?

Are they as Tim Clark from Forsyth County talks about using the devices to make regular functions faster or to learn and explore in a different manner?

How do ensure they on task and not texting mean stuff to each other?

Tell me about your experiences with BYOD?

50 comments Add your comment

FCM

February 10th, 2014
6:09 am

Dodgen implemented they BYOD last year. I will ask my MS teen and let you know more.

Mother of 2

February 10th, 2014
7:46 am

Fulton county doesn’t use BYOD. We do have a computer lab and the kids regularly use it. Some classes have a smart board, but most do not. Technology in the classroom can be great, and it can be a tremendous distraction.

College kids are typically more engaged in their education compared to younger kids. There are plenty of middle and high school kids who will be entertaining themselves with their devices, not using them for learning. A skilled teacher can navigate multiple different devices during class time. K-12 teachers are obligated to jump through hoops to engage their students and insure that they are learning. College teachers can take a different stance because college students are expected to be responsible for their education.

I think that devices can enhance learning for many students and teachers. Trained teachers are necessary for BYOD to work well.

Mother of 2

February 10th, 2014
7:47 am

Oops, ensure, not insure :-).

I don't think an iPod...

February 10th, 2014
8:28 am

…is a “learning” device, and there is a huge difference between that and an iPad, a laptop, a smartphone, and other real potential “learning” devices. – did you mean to include it in the comment about your 12 year old not using it at school?

And, I live in Forsyth County so I am familiar with their program. However, I am quite concerned with the potential for abuse of some devices, not by the individual owners but by kids without devices being shunned or ridiculed due to not having anything. And, whoa unto the child whose device is damaged or lost and the parents have to replace it…for the third or fourth time! And, I can see where they can be useful, however…

HB

February 10th, 2014
8:36 am

If wifi’s available, I think an iPod touch can do pretty much anything an iphone can, including make a phone call if you have a skype subscription.

Real Life

February 10th, 2014
8:50 am

While the emphasis here is on devices available in school I got hung up on the assignment: first grade students asked to write about where in the world they would visit. Your comment that one student did not have enough knowledge about countries and continents was very telling. As a former teacher I would have been surprised if more than a rather small percentage of these students had the knowledge to actually answer that question. Access to a device such as iPad or laptop is beside the point here. Maybe I am not looking at the same caliber of first grader that is in your child’s school, but that does not see and age- or knowledge- appropriate assignment for this age group. Maybe there were lessons that some children missed that would have exposed them to the needed information–but the assignment seems out in left field. Having access to a device to look up the information would not have been useful without basic knowledge of what the child is looking for. These devices can be very useful in class and for homework. But if the groundwork is not there it would not be useful to a child at all.

FCM

February 10th, 2014
9:16 am

My daughter used her iPod as her BYOD in class. She was able to access the internet for research, interact with the teacher’s smart board (via a secured link) and even do certain assignments the teacher requested. She was able to use the calendar to log in future projects/tests.

Here is the link to the use of BYOD in school: http://www.cobbk12.org/dodgen/BYODagreement.pdf

CCSD policy on use is located here: http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/adminrules/I/IFBG-R.pdf

All STUDENTS and parents have to sign off on both policies and register each devices Serial Number with the school before it can be used. Currently she uses her smart phone or iPod in class. She broke her Tabio otherwise she would use that.

I wish they would let my 5th grader use her Tabio in class.

FCM

February 10th, 2014
9:25 am

TWG my comment is in awaiting moderation…probably b/c I put in some links

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 10th, 2014
9:25 am

They had been studying continents for about a week so they had some idea that there were continents and countries. They had talked about and written about visiting places inside the US so now they were talking and writing about visiting places outside the US. I think it was an appropriate assignment but I do think the photos helped them understand and gave them some imagery to work with.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 10th, 2014
9:31 am

I approved it FCM — what happens to the kids that don’t have them???

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 10th, 2014
9:33 am

I was discussing it last night with my girlfriend in Taipei and she just thought it created a bigger divide between the have an the have nots and that the school should be providing for everyone the devices — whether to share or one for all.

RJ

February 10th, 2014
9:46 am

I will not be buying my extremely irresponsible teenaged son an ipad, laptop, nor will I be replacing his broken ipod. Nope! So, although I can afford it, he’s proven himself to be irrepsonsible time and time again, so he would be with the have nots. Now, technology can be used in the schools, but like others have said, it can also be a distraction. Kids will get onto their social media sites. It can be a hassle. I teach in a Title I school where 99% of the students receive free or reduced lunch. They don’t have the money for the technology. It would work best in a middle to upper middle class community.

FCM

February 10th, 2014
10:18 am

The kids that don’t have them can get a hard copy of the assignment and work it.

FCM

February 10th, 2014
10:21 am

I disagree with the schools providing devices. The WORLD is full of have and have nots…there is no equal or level playing field. The sooner the kids learn to deal with it the better. The kid who forgets their device on a BYOD class still has the papercopy too.

How does your friend suggest we pay for those devices? Already we supply breakfast and lunch for many of the kids. Now devices? NO NO NO it has to stop.

cobbmom

February 10th, 2014
11:08 am

Our Cobb elementary school has implemented the policy, it is the teacher’s choice if they want to participate. Teachers have to go through a training process in order to use it in class. The school also held a parent education night, 10 parents came even though the school has over 850 students. We have a web based reading assessment program we use for struggling students. When classrooms have 2 desktop computers but you have 12 students needing the program BYOD can be a solution. The media center also has a few ipads available for checkout by teachers. They have to log onto the school based network so all social media is blocked. The only problem so far is students using them on the bus to look at things they shouldn’t be looking at. My son chose not to participate because he didn’t think he is responsible enough to keep up with his itouch.

HB

February 10th, 2014
11:09 am

I do think schools should provide the devices. It sounds like this curriculum is largely about teaching kids how to use tech as a resource, not just keeping them engaged or having another way to do the assignment, and that’s great! But if that is the case, then kids without devices are missing out on a significant part of what is being taught. That’s not ok.

Way back in the day, we had new high-tech graphing calculators in high school for upper level math. A significant amount of what we learned was about how to input formulas into the devices and get the answers we needed as prep for college level courses, so we had a classroom set. Kids who couldn’t afford the calculators didn’t miss out on the tech portion of the lesson. It’s important to integrate tech resources into the classroom, but all students should have access to those resources.

BJ

February 10th, 2014
12:04 pm

While we have enjoyed you posts how do you think you are qualified to live in Az and write about life here in Georgia?

Tzar

February 10th, 2014
12:25 pm

Very proud of you Theresa! Several days in a row with original content, obviously today you thought about the subject for a while and drafted a well thought out thesis and actually wrote more than the standard cut and paste. I grade you with a “A” for today.

Stuff

February 10th, 2014
1:15 pm

They had BYOD at my daughter’s school and she did not participate; we limit TV, computer, and electronics. My wife and I are old fashioned and don’t want her engaged in electronics so young – she should be reading books instead of swiping across a screen. Even the best educational apps are subpar to time spent alone with imagination and books.

Kat

February 10th, 2014
1:25 pm

Breaking news! Posters have moved from downright rudeness to condescending. Check back later for more!

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2014
2:59 pm

Technology has come very far since before mine were in college and so I have no personal experience with this topic.

I do remember my son’s Biology book went missing in action, right before school was finished for the year. He swore he did not lose it and we ( he) would have to pay for it. He talked to the teacher and she told him that likely someone else lost theirs and took his, so as not to pay for a book themselves. It was $90 or so. She asked him to wait until all books were coded back into the system and then his might show up. It did! My point is that $90 is not much compared to the expense of today’s byod. Plus teachers would not be be as interested in recovery if they were personal items and not checked out. So glad my two have jobs to pay for their own electronics.

@ Stuff…I tend to lean towards your side of the fence but would not want mine to have limited experience before they head to college ( thus being way behind). I am amazed at some of the projects that kids can turn out now a days with a power point. We used posterboard and markers…haha!

HB..where will the $$$ come from? Schools are cutting way back on field trips that cost $5-$10 per student. I am sad that places like Puppetry Arts are begging for sponsors to help pay for field trips and expose children to cultural arts. How will they come up with that kind of money for technolog? Oh…maybe the teachers could forgo a raise or take furlough days …lol.

HB

February 10th, 2014
3:37 pm

I get that expense is an issue, but I don’t think that makes it ok to put an initiative in place that only benefits kids whose families can afford the tech. If they can’t find a workable means to make this program accessible to all (maybe through shared classroom sets of devices), then that seems like a really unfair way to educate kids sitting in the same class, and maybe they should wait to implement the program until he can be set up in a way that everyone has an opportunity to participate. Teachers don’t plan lessons around text- and workbooks that only some kids in classroom have. I don’t see this as being any different.

missnadine

February 10th, 2014
3:41 pm

OK – not related to the topic, but this is a hilarious video of Hitler and the Atlanta snow problems. Enjoy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoujWceQyw8

FCM

February 10th, 2014
4:26 pm

@ HB there are paper copies of the assignment available for the kids without devices…whether because their parent opts out, they forget it, or they cannot afford it.

Despite the great efforts of people wanting to turn our country to socialism we are not there yet. We do NOT owe the kids the devices…even their own parents don’t.

This is exactly the problem we have kids (and many of their parents) today. They think they are deserving or owed something….and if they cannot (or won’t) provide it they expect it to be provided for them. When it comes to food (something to sustain life) I agree….electronics? HE%% NO!

PHR

February 10th, 2014
4:27 pm

In my son’s school if you could not bring in your own device they school provided something. They actually had sets of ipads in the library. I know some of the teachers also kept their own in their classrooms for the kids without one. I think it is such a great idea for them to be using the resources that are out there instead of the old card catalogs and encyclopedias. My son in 6th grade is learning to use internet articles as source documents for research assignments. He will definitely need that for high school and beyond.
When the kids use the internet they have to go through the school’s wifi so they have the appropriate filters. We also made our son buy his own iPad so there was a little more accountability for taking care of it and not losing it.

HB

February 10th, 2014
4:52 pm

That sounds like a great set up, PHR.

FCM, we also don’t owe it to kids who have more means to teach to the devices that only they have access to. If much of the point of the initiative is to gain skills using the electronic resources, then providing a paper copy doesn’t cut it. We do owe kids comparable opportunities in public school classrooms. That doesn’t necessarily mean that each child should be given their own personal device to take home, but they should all have a way to take advantage of ALL of what’s being taught.

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2014
5:14 pm

Kudos to you PHR for having your son buy his own iPad. I heard someone on the Herman Cain show today who said this,

” I retired at 49, my expectations are not really high and I am comfortable. I started working at age 10. I chopped sasafrass (sp?) roots and put them in baggies to sell. I worked all my life until now.”

I LOVED THAT COMMENT! I collected sasafrass ( sp?) roots as a girl too, along with picking berries that I sold in chopped off milk jugs.

Perhaps the schools could encourage children to explore ways to earn their own $$ to purchase technology instead of expecting the government to do everything for them. WAIT, that might go against the way of what our leaders are sharing with the parents of those children. HMMMM.

SEE

February 10th, 2014
6:24 pm

My son’s elementary school has BYOD. He brought his ipad mini, and was caught using it to play games. I think that is one of the big problems that teachers face with BYOD. My middle school son brings his laptop, but he’s in a program where 90% of his coursework is done online. Students can use the school’s computers, or they can bring their own. It works well this way, because if some students didn’t bring their own devices, there wouldn’t be enough for everyone.

April

February 10th, 2014
6:29 pm

The school where I teach is in the first year of BYOD as we move into a technology initiative that will eventually provide a device to every middle and high school student. I agree with Tim Clark’s comments about moving away from emphasis on the final product and placing more emphasis on the process of discovery. As a teacher I am trying to incorporate more of this into my lessons. Students love the use of technology in the classroom – sometimes simply because it is new. It also speeds up some activities and does make assessment easier.

Currently, I think most schools are in the “adapting an old task to a new medium,” but hopefully we will soon move beyond that.

HB

February 10th, 2014
7:12 pm

I’m glad to hear some schools are providing devices for kids who don’t have their own to use as these programs do sound like they’re teaching important skills. I can’t quite get my head around the notion that providing such equipment in the classroom is part of our grand move toward socialism and government overreliance. It’s never really been unusual for schools to provide expensive high tech equipment for students to use. Did anyone take home ec back in the day? If so, did you have to purchase and bring in your own sewing machine, or did you expect the government to provide it for you? Did any schools require kids to bring their own, and say to kids who couldn’t, gee that’s tough…guess you’ll have to stick with a needle and thread and sew by hand? Typewriters, shop equipment, computers, graphing calculators…all modern expensive equipment provided for students’ use to help them acquire skills for the modern world. What’s different about providing access to today’s devices?

I don't think an iPod...

February 10th, 2014
7:15 pm

…my bad – since I have never had an iPod (I do have all the other toys) I really did not know that they had come so far to be so “smart”…

And, the things you learn on this blog! Like, BJ, who is REALLY late to the party if he/she does not know that TWG is an Atlanta native, a UGA grad, and a long time GA mother who was transplanted in AZ with her hubby’s job, and will soon be providing this blog from the confines of NYC when she and the kids join her hubby there, while she still writes a blog for most people Georgian, though this blog is an open forum on the WWW for all to read and comment…

HB

February 10th, 2014
7:24 pm

Yeah, a lot of people don’t realize that. I used one essentially as an iphone (had a cheap plan on a non-smart phone I used for most phone calls) for a couple of years before getting to a point where I really needed a data plan.

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2014
8:24 pm

@ HB…good points!

Yes we had sewing machines in Home Ec…it is pretty tedious to try to learn how to construct clothing with only a needle, thimble and thread. That was one HS classroom and there were probably 20 or so machines in there. My HS had several thousand students, this was when I lived in Chicago. We shared them with all the other students who took that class each day. We did have to purchase our own notion kit. It was around $30, in the early 1970s. . We did not have our own machine to use all day. We also had typewriters…manual and Selectric in my day. Again, that was one class and there were probably 20 total. We payed for our own slide rules ( pre calculator). The TI-86 calculators my own two used in HS were provided but US. They did not get them at school. I have one right here in my office that no one is using now.

I guess I could see a HS buying say 50 of each product and letting kids share them. Not sure how successful that would be.

What about instruments? Most kids rent or purchase their own. The school does not provide them.

motherjanegoose

February 10th, 2014
8:25 pm

provided by US…sorry!

HB

February 10th, 2014
9:38 pm

Exactly, MJG. Shared devices to at least fill in the gaps can be a great solution. Classroom sets can be handed out and taken back up when class is over. That’s how we used the calculators. Some kids had their own that they used most days, but we were actually required to use the class set for tests — the teacher checked that there no crib notes were on those. The next period, the next class would use them. Having a few extra devices in each class or available in the library as PHR and SEE said sounds like a good plan too.

Band instruments are trickier to share. Schools often provide big cost-prohibitive ones, like drums and xylophones, that are shared by several bands, but smaller wind instruments that you adjust somewhat to yourself would be hard (and probably gross) for more than one student to share at a time. Sometimes a larger wind instrument, like a bassoon, might be provided, but in the bands I played in usually only one kid would use it at a time, for say a whole year — it wasn’t shared from one period to the next. And some schools do provide classroom instruments for smaller music instruction classes, such as guitars and keyboards, but those classes are bit different from band. They’re shorter term school day electives, not the kind of years-long class and extra curricular combo that bands are.

Bad Idea

February 11th, 2014
8:25 am

BYOD has another issue that no one has bothered to address …. THEFT.

When you sign that agreement the school, etc. are not responsible for its loss, damage while at school. I know of a case where a MS student in Gwinnett was kicked out of school for stealing other students electronics. Ask any teacher currently in the classroom where BYOD has been going on for quite some time and they will tell you this IS a problem. This is just an huge weight on the shoulders of teachers.

Like someone said, the World is full of haves and have nots. Society is changing and so are they children. Some have not kids want so bad to have they will do whatever it takes to get. Just ask a teacher…

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2014
8:50 am

@ Bad idea…I absolutely agree with your point. See my post about the Biology book. Not too easy to walk out with a sewing machine or manual typewriter, which were provided in my day. Teachers are not responsible for things brought in by students, nor should they be.

Some have not adults want things badly too and we see what happens there.

FCM

February 11th, 2014
8:52 am

@ HB they already have computer labs to do the computer work. That is one lab for the whole school and they rotate through. My daughters both use the lab to do much of their written papers. They can either email the report home or store it on their USB flash drive. These are open to ALL children in school. It is like 40 computers. What you are suggesting is WAY more expensive. It would be a set of “smart” devices for each classroom! That is way more than 4!0…and for ever school???? That is crazy!

Yes we had a room of sewing machines and shop class too….but that too is just one room for the whole school. In a single day my child may use in her iPod to connect in math, English, Social Studies, and Spanish. 4 class rooms with say 10 each…that is 40 right there…and that is just one set of 8th grade teachers. Currently she has Technology as a course. They have computers in that room as well (so as not to take up the computer lab)…so each child does have access to a Tower there.

My children’s father purchased the iPod and Tabio (cheaper than iPad). Their laptop is one my father no longer needed (and about 5 years old). Someone at work built the tower we have in the home office. There are ways to get technology into the hands of the kids who cannot afford it, so let’s explore that instead of government should provide.

You said you cannot wrap your head around how it is socialist….teaching kids that government provides is absolutely dangerous ground toward socialism!

Teaching children to be resourceful (check pawn shop or good will…see if someone has an old one to sell or give….we gave an old 19″ boxy monitor to a family that did not even have a color screen when I was gifted a flat top by a co-worker).

The Kindle I got on sale and the smart phones were BOGO when I got them…Android phones. In some ways my kids may be better able to adapt to technology b/c we have so many different kinds to folks being kind enough to give us their old ones.

RJ

February 11th, 2014
9:02 am

“Perhaps the schools could encourage children to explore ways to earn their own $$ to purchase technology instead of expecting the government to do everything for them.”

If you want kids to use the technology then you should provide it. Are schools expecting kids to purchase their own textbooks? I guess if you listen to Herman Cain you would believe such non-sense…SMH! We have a class set of ipads that teachers can check out and use. We also have a technology lab and all classes have at least 8 desktops. The kids I teach are poor. If we did BYOD very few would have them. We don’t have the issues a lot of other schools have. Cell phones are a rarity. At my son’s school every 5th grader had a cell phone.

Theft is a real problem in my school too. I would never even want them bringing their own devices.

FCM

February 11th, 2014
9:13 am

Actually, yes we are given the book information and many parents do elect to get the soft copy at home. You can even rent the text book. Text books are usually a “classroom set” these days and the children are EXPECTED to have technology at home to access the “free” online copy from the link (usually not working hence parents buy their own) the teacher puts on the facebook wannabe site CCSD has elected to use. The kids hate the wannabe thing….blogs were better but are “costly and outdated” and in a stoke of genius the student has to ok the parent access to the wannabe feed.

Bad Idea

February 11th, 2014
9:17 am

@ motherjanegoose. Yes, the teachers are not responsible but they do feel bad for the victim when things like this happen. Add that to all the other ills of society teachers have to deal with. Kids have been stealing clothing from their peers for decades, and as our society has gotten more possession oriented so has the entitlement attitude.

@FCM. I back your socialism theory on this. Most of the have nots don’t pay enough in taxes to support their multiple kids in school. The government steps in as always dangling money over the school systems heads. Take this winter and the snow days as a perfect example. Parents here in Gwinnett are very vocal about demanding school gets cancelled and they don’t want to have to make up the days. GCPS will go to school for 180 days to because the federal government will not give them the funds if they don’t, State of Emergency does not pay the bills. GCPS does an excellent job with the limited taxpayer resources they have, but people forget how much the Feds demand in exchange for money.

HB

February 11th, 2014
9:19 am

Actually, I didn’t say every class needs a full set, FCM. That’s one possibility. Another is having some extras to fill in the gaps. Another is full sets in some classrooms and not implementing the program in every class and subject. I think there are probably many ways to approach this, such as those PHR and SEE mentioned, but to me, providing a hard copies is not an acceptable substitute. And providing educational equipment is no more socialist than the establishment of public schools is (I hate when people toss around “socialist!” as a scary label for any spending they personally don’t like – we should be better than such simplistic rhetoric.)

motherjanegoose

February 11th, 2014
9:45 am

@ RJ…your idea made me think and I thank you for that!

It relates to something started a while ago: if we want kids to have something good to eat then we ( not the parents) must provide it. After all, no one can learn if they are hungry!
**** Free breakfast and lunch.

I love listening to Herman Cain and would have voted for him. He is a strong believer in making your own way and working for what you want. I adhere to that idea too. My kids worked to pay for the majority of the technology they have, with the exception of their laptops we sent them to college with. That was a HS graduation present. They also worked for their cars…saved the down payment and made the payments when they were 16. That is how we roll around here. I know that is not popular with other teens.

A relative in Colorado teachers Kinder. They have had temps near zero degrees. She was bemoaning the fact that the parents sent the kids to school with NO GLOVES NOR MITTENS.
Wow…they can’t learn if they are cold…maybe we should provide them too. Can’t learn if they can’t get a good night’s sleep…perhaps they should just stay at school and the school could provide that too. REALLY? When does it end.

@ Bad Idea…I spend a lot of time with teachers. Seeing things from the inside of the building is sometimes different than from the outside. Curious…several of my Gwinnett Teacher friends were fussing last night that Wilbanks cancelled school. I had work in Fulton today, so that was cancelled earlier. Do you think Gwinnett should have had school today? They are frustrated with the make up days. Is is snowing and icing in my neighborhood but I have not been out. Not sure if it would have been a safe day to ride the bus.

Bad Idea

February 11th, 2014
10:26 am

@ motherjanegoose It is 10:15 am and mostly rain with a bit of sleet mixed here in eastern edge of Lawrenceville. I think the teachers were right, we should have gone today. They should have waited till this morning. IMO It’s a no win situation. The GCPS Facebook page had parents and students most of the afternoon and into last evening feverishly DEMANDING that since all the other metro systems close, they should too. State of Emergency. state of emergency. None of these screaming parents are going to acknowledge that the largest school system in the metro with the least amount of issues was GCPS!

GCPS are some of the best. They know that 180 days will be enforced. Gwinnett needs that money!

Correction: Now it’s sleeting pretty heavily here, so just maybe Alvin Wilbanks has Mother Nature on speed dial! LOL!

Everyone be safe!

cobbmom

February 11th, 2014
10:57 am

Bad Idea, you can’t keep claiming poverty for the Gwinnett school system. Gwinnett receives more money from the state “equalization fund” than any other county. Gwinnett is able to have a 180 day school year because Cobb county, one of the largest CONTRIBUTORS to the equalization fund gave hundreds of millions while having to cut their own school year and furlough teachers. While other school systems have 8 computers per classroom in addition to computer labs, Cobb has two computers per classroom and outdated computer labs because of the state law requiring Cobb to contribute so much to the equalization fund. What is Gwinnett going to do when Cobb is no longer able to give the hundreds of millions? Actually support their own school system? The horror!

To cobbmom

February 11th, 2014
11:37 am

Your post contradicts itself and you just said that Cobb was contributing and Gwinnett was taking. To me that says Gwiinnett has more kids in poverty Cobb does. Please clarify your statement because instead of debunking Bad Idea you just agreed and gave evidence to back his/ her argument.

FCM

February 11th, 2014
5:12 pm

HB my daughter said they do have a few devices they let the kids without devices use in her classes. She admits that kids are busy on their phones/devices and it is NOT school work. ..and the kids tend to take them out on non BYOD days too. The teachers do have to police them then.

She also admits to playing on her various devices from time to time. Yesterday she emailed me from her iPod b/c she forgot something she had me sign and needed me to send an email to her teacher. She asked for help on research via email one time during school too.

I still don’t see that it is harmful in class but perhaps better filters to prevent say Candy Crush during school hours is needed.

April

February 11th, 2014
6:31 pm

There are a couple of issues that should be considered in the debate of BYOD vs. school supplied devices:

1. If every kid in the class has a different device, technical issues are much harder to deal with. Let’s face it, sometimes things do not work correctly. It is unreasonable to expect a kid to deal with some of the problems. If every kid in the room has the same device, I as the teacher can quickly learn the most common problems, how to trouble shoot them, and how to fix them.

2. Most of the school devices are on a rental program from companies who specialize in providing devices to schools. A part of this is an insurance plan. Some schools are able to pay for this themselves and some offer it to parents as an option.

3. For years, schools have provided books for student use. Computers should be not exception. The computer does not really belong to the student; it is on loan just as a text book is. Most textbooks are now available online, and some schools are opting not to purchase hard copies. Instead, they are purchasing digital rights only, and every student must be able to access the needed books.

4. As an English teacher, I can teach with technology every single day. If I have to share a computer lab with a whole school of other teachers, I am not really utilizing technology the best way I can.

HB

February 11th, 2014
7:56 pm

I’m glad to hear they’re providing some, FCM.

April, I imagine #1 is a huge issue. I’m a bit of a techy, know Macs and PCs backwards and forwards and use iOS constantly, but would have no clue at this moment how to help a kid with an Android problem — I’ve never used an Android device.

beth

February 14th, 2014
11:57 pm

Forsyth County is out in front on this. It is called BYOT (bring your own technology). I know there have been many organized tours of our schools for both national and international education professionals. Most of the kids have their own devices. Mine have mini-ipads. And for those who do not, the PTA took the initiative last year to provide iPad carts with up to 30 ipads on them. We have several so far and the goal is to have a cart for each grade.

This kids use their devices daily in some form or fashion. One day, I saw 3rd graders wandering the halls taking pictures of 90 degree angles. Both my kindergartener and 2nd grader use theirs to do math. I have seen it put to great use in the classroom, especially in the younger grades where they don’t have books yet. They study wildlife, planets, insects etc. Very visual. And they are encouraged to use it to do their own research and then write about it.