Week Nine: Does Every School Need a “BYOD” Policy?

As a principal, this weeks essential question deals with an issue that high school principals have to grapple with every day.  The BYOD movement in general and how HHS dealt with this issue happened in an organic way with maybe a little nudge from us.  In other words, students were bringing them to school no matter what the rules said, parents wanted their kids to have their own laptops and smart phones at school and these devices where so convenient for teacher who actually utilized them they just became part of HHS culture.

Of course, at the HHS administration level we actually did not follow district policy and tried to promote their use.  We allowed students to bring their own devices, but students had to follow classroom rules.  If devises were used in at class that didn’t allow them or were misused, we would take them away and revoke their BYOD privileges.

We did this purposefully because of two reasons.  First, we knew these devices could be helpful in the classroom and would supplement our laptop carts and computer labs.  We didn’t have the money to purchase 400 laptops so each student could have their own device.  The teachers that were using them found them very useful.

The second and more practical reason was we didn’t want to wage a war we knew we couldn’t win and that would give us minimal benefits.  We could have put up metal detectors and had every student give up their smart phone before the entered school, but then we become a police state and set a negative tone.  We allowed our student the have the privilege and responsibility to bring their devices to class and use them when needed in a positive way.  This set a positive tone that we believed our students could handle having their own devices in school and this has helped create a positive school culture and environment.

The result of our school allowing personal devices was to force the district to change their policies.  The fact that  HSS had successfully allowed personal digital devices for over 6 years and the fact that student and parents at other school where demanding that these be allowed help make this change.  The district even upgraded our wireless network so all student could connect their devices to our internet.

Here is a video from the student’s perspective on being able to BYOD.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9mobocxdnc

In the article “4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program: by Peter Martini he states there are 4 things that can cripple a BYOD program.  They are:

  • Allowing consistent access to network and internet on BOYD’s
  • Making sure you have enough bandwidth to serve all the BOYD’s
  • Protecting against viruses from BYOD’s
  • Blocking access to restricted programs

In the article BYOD: The Challenges, How it Can Succeed in the Classroom by Rachel Quetti she gives some suggestions to make a BYOD program work. They include:

  • Being able to mage the devices (Suggests Airwatch)
  • Ensure safety by filtering content
  • Help teachers adjust to the new BYOD paradigm

In closing every district should have a BYOB policy, but how you get there will be different depending on your community and your school culture.


Chiasson, M. BYOD student perspective. Anglophone East School District. Retrieved on 7-11-16 at 2:00 pm.  Found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9mobocxdnc.

Quetti, R. (2015). BYOD: The Challenges, How it Can Succeed in the Classroom. K12 TD. Retrieved on 7-11-16 at 2:51 pm.  found at http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/byod_the_challenges_it_presents_and_how_you_can_overcome_themhttp://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/byod_the_challenges_it_presents_and_how_you_can_overcome_them

Martini, P.  4 Challenges that can cripple your school’s BYOD program. Teacher Tought.  Retrieved on 7-11-16 at 1:50 pm.  Found at http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/.

What is BYOD (bring your own device) and why should teachers care? educational Technology.  Retrieved on 7-11-16 at 2:30 pm.  Found at http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/tech-ed/what-is-byod-bring-your-own-device-and-why-should-teachers-care/

By waclawskid

4 comments on “Week Nine: Does Every School Need a “BYOD” Policy?

  1. I agree completely that students are going to bring their own devices anyways, and that if we cooperate with this natural tendency as opposed to fighting it, it becomes a positive thing, a privilege and a responsibility. I enjoyed the video you posted displaying the students perspective. Teachers (myself included) can be overly suspicious of their students intentions. More often than not, they do want to learn effectively and efficiently and will resect the teachers who expect and bring this out in them, which is why BYOD is successful, I feel.

  2. I appreciate your perspective as a principal and am excited to hear your reasons for advancing BYOD in your school. “Waging the war” you know you can’t win is spot on since many students in larger cities/school have their tech attached to their person at all times and would feel lost if it was to become missing. Having those students use those devices for learning is neat as it shows them more purposes than just simple communication.

    • I guess the reason I pursued the BYOD is why not? The negatives are easily dealt with using good classroom management and they can be a huge positive if used right. If the teacher doesn’t use them that means parents and students are happy knowing they are there if they need them. It seems like a win / win to me. We also allow gum and baseball hats in the classroom.

  3. I really appreciate your perspective as a principal. It make sense not to fight a war you couldn’t win and instead benefit from what the students were doing.

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