Why Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in West Hartford Public Schools?
West Hartford School District is committed to creating a rigorous and engaging learning environment for all students, teachers and staff. Our District believes that 21st Century instruction is necessary for 21st Century learning. Providing students with an environment that fosters and encourages this belief is part of our core values. All members of our learning community hold the responsibility to value technology and achieve technological proficiency to prepare our students for future jobs, which currently may not exist. Schools must challenge students with rigorous, personalized academic experiences, foster innovation and creativity, and embrace emerging technologies. In a 21st Century learning environment, students actively engage in a cohesively integrated curriculum, access information and apply it in solving authentic problems. Many students have personally owned devices that can be used to help maximize their opportunity for success in school and beyond. These technologies, when properly used, promote educational excellence in the District by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication. We believe that the tremendous value of technology and the information technology network as an educational resource far outweighs the potential risks. These program guidelines focus on using technologies as educational tools to enhance the teaching and learning experience, consistent with the West Harford Public Schools Mission, Values and Goals.
What is the “D” in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?
For the purposes of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), “Device” means a privately owned wireless and/or portable electronic piece of equipment that can be used for word processing, wireless Internet access, image capture and recording, sound recording, information transmitting and/or receiving and storing. These devices may include, but are not limited to, personal laptops, smartphones, iPads or other tablet computers, network access devices, e-Readers, and cellular phones. No gaming devices are allowed (to include: Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable PSP, etc.). If you are uncertain whether or not your device meets the criteria to be used for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), please see your building administrator.
Uses of BYOD
The District believes technology is a powerful tool that enhances learning and enables students to access a vast amount of academic resources. We feel that access to the tools and resources of a world-wide network and understanding when and how these tools are appropriately and effectively used are imperative in each student’s education. Thus the goal of this BYOD program is to increase student access to digital tools and facilitate access to technology-based information, much the way that students utilize pen and paper. To this end, the District will provide a filtered, wireless network available to students for instructional purposes. In accordance with federal guidelines, this network has filtering software that blocks access to material that are inappropriate for students or harmful to minors, as defined by the Children’s Internet Protection Act And Child Online Protection Act.
Privately owned technological devices may not be used during instructional time, except as specifically permitted by instructional staff. Students and visitors will be required to register personal devices on the WHPS network and agree to the WHPS Administrative Guidelines for the Use of Technology.
If a student does not have parental permission to use the Internet and/or online services, teachers will make a reasonable effort to provide an alternative assignment covering the same content standards contained in the Internet based instruction. In the event that equivalent instruction cannot be reasonably provided, an alternative assignment will be given to the student.
Staff is responsible for providing guidelines for Internet use by students. Staff is responsible for supervising student access to the Internet and ensuring that access is being used for educational purposes and in accordance with the Guidelines for Acceptable Use. This is really no different than staff having been responsible that students were taking notes and not passing notes, or reading texts and not magazines, during class. The vehicle to the knowledge has simply changed. Each building will clarify “electronic etiquette” and expectations for their school community consistent with goals and grade levels. These expectations will include expectations for common areas and non-academic settings.
Student users shall access or use only WHPS Gmail email accounts at school. All student email collaboration shall be done through district moderated accounts.
Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Communication and Social Networking Applications
Student users shall not access or use online synchronous or asynchronous communication applications such as email, chat, blogs, wikis or social networking Web site functions (i.e., discussion threads, document posting, RSS feeds, etc.) while at school. These restrictions apply unless: 1) this access and use takes place within a teacher moderated online environment; 2) the online activities are being used for legitimate instructional purposes; 3) the applications and/or systems are provided by the District.
Communications and Access
Parents or guardians should instruct their student user(s) if there is material that they think would be inappropriate for them to access (in addition to material already blocked by the District firewall and content filter). The District fully expects that student users will follow these instructions. Students shall inform a teacher if they mistakenly access inappropriate information or content.
The use of electronic devices in the academic setting is with the expressed consent of the teacher for instructional purposes only. Students may not make any recordings (still, video, or audio) without the explicit permission of the teacher or individual. Personal devices fall within the District’s established Code of Conduct, and must be used properly. Improper purposes include, but are not limited to:
- Sending any form of harassing, threatening, or intimidating message, at any time, to any person (such communication may also be a crime);
- Seeking to gain access to or damage technology resources: i.e. attempting to illicitly obtain passwords or user names, attempting to gain access to secure areas of the network, introducing computer viruses, or accessing or altering educational records;
- Accessing or attempting to access any material that is obscene or contains pornography;
- Using a device to violate any school rule or taking any action prohibited by Federal and State law.
Responsibility for Privately Owned Technological Devices
West Hartford Public Schools is not responsible for the theft of a device, nor are they responsible for any damage done to the device while at school. Students are responsible for the safety and use of their privately owned devices. Any time a theft occurs, you should contact a school administrator to make him/her aware of the offense. Bringing your own devices to school can be useful; however, some risks are involved as well. It is always a good idea to record the device’s serial number to have in case of theft.
West Hartford Public Schools BYOD FAQs – Parents/Guardians
My child does not have his/her own electronic communication device to bring to school. Will he/she be penalized or miss out on instruction?
No, it is not mandatory for students to bring a device, even if they do own one. Use of personal electronic devices will be optional. Keep in mind that learning can be enhanced greatly for the entire class even if only a handful of students have a device! Whenever electronic devices are required to enhance learning in the classroom, students will be provided access to an appropriate WHPS District owned electronic device.
What if my child’s device is stolen or damaged? What recourse can I take?
Students bring electronic communication devices to school at their own risk, just like any other personal items. The school will not be held responsible if an electronic device or other item is lost, stolen or misplaced. Some devices have a device locator; it is recommended that you enable this feature if possible.
Is it required that my child use the School wireless? Can they use their own 3G or 4Gservice? Students with a personally owned device need to use the guest wireless network.
My child is bringing a device to school for instructional purposes. Will they have access to things they normally do with district equipment?
Your child will have access to much of the web-based software the school currently uses (databases, library search tools, etc.) Software may run differently on different devices for varying reasons. Not all resources will be available to BYOD users for security purposes.
How will my son’s/daughter’s device be used in the classroom?
Schools must challenge students with rigorous, personalized academic learning experiences that foster innovation and creativity. Students will engage in a cohesively integrated curriculum, access information, and apply it to solve authentic problems in a collaborative manner.