Bring Your Own Learning Device

Caitlin M.

Bring Your Learning Device (BYLD) is a popular new technology initiative being implemented at Woodstock High School and throughout Cherokee County schools. A change from years past, with teacher approval and supervision, students can now use electronic devices such as smart phones as learning tools in the classroom to enhance their education. Students and teachers alike are excited about the multitude of possibilities this program has to offer; cell phones are no longer just for texting and tweeting.

 BYLD has its own Wi-Fi spot at WHS. This means students can access the Internet without having to pay one dime. Not every student has the data plan for the 3G service, so this allows them to have the Internet needed during class. When connected to the BYLD Wi-Fi, students can access the Internet with permission of teachers. Even older smart phones parents do not use will hold a use for students without the devices. This is very helpful when wanting to look up a word or if a student wants to use the calculator.  Students can now use devices such as iPhones and other smart phones, iPods, iPads, and many other devices out there. Since almost all of the students at WHS carry their cell phones with them, this just adds another benefit coming from the program. In times of budget cuts, students can do assignments online or use online textbooks at their fingertips. Almost all of the students know how to use the devices already, so most teachers will not have to explain how to use the devices. This opens up a whole new opportunity for the students and teachers who want to use this program to broaden learning outside of textbooks.

Dr. Paul Weir, WHS assistant principal, told the students about the BYLD program, explaining, “Some students who were a part of the pilot last year said they loved the program, and it was very helpful.” Last year CCSD utilized the program by having select classes run a pilot program for BYLD to work out the kinks before implementing the program on a wide scale. Dr. Weir said he hopes it will help make it easier for access to the Internet.

 Matching Dr. Weir’s enthusiasm for BYLD, teachers are learning how to best utilize the program in their individual classrooms. Chemistry teacher Mrs. Pam Green is thrilled to be able to allow her students to use their cell phones as calculators during class, and she also sees the benefit of students using their iPads and other devices for taking notes during lectures, as she thinks it will be more effective than writing notes by hand. Mrs. Green believes that the internet and learning-related apps will make her class a much more interactive environment for her students. Math teacher Mrs. Darrah Smith also is another teacher who uses BYLD for her class. She explained, “It’s been a hassle at times, but if students don’t have a graphing calculator, there are many apps to download.” She plans on using the graphing calculator apps in class and apps dealing with other math activities. She thinks it will benefit students who cannot pay for the $100 graphing calculator.  

While electronic devices are the new way to learn in schools, many teachers are concerned students will not use BYLD for the right reasons. Students should only use their learning devices for educational purposes during school. The teachers and administration will combat this issue by only allowing students to use their learning devices at certain times during class. Even though there are some concerns, Dr. Weir, Mrs. Green, and Mrs. Smith all think BYLD is a resourceful program for not only the students, but also the faculty and staff of Woodstock High School.

Teachers and administrators are not the only ones who want to utilize BYLD in school. With the BYLD program underway, students at Woodstock High School are just itching to see which classes they can use the program for. Sophomore Kyra Devery explains, “I plan on using BYLD for putting reminders in my calendar and using my calculator on my cell phone.” She said she also thinks BYLD could be useful for when her teachers ask her to do assignments on it. Many students could take advantage of this new program, but it is forbidden to text or tweet while in class. Students are only allowed to use their devices when they are given permission each time there is a new activity.  Many students said they are going to use their devices to take notes, research, and use useful apps available for any smart phone. Students can now be extra prepared for upcoming events in class. Now that the students of WHS are able to work on their own devices, the classes should be much more interactive this year.

BYLD is such a helpful program for students at Woodstock High. It not only helps the students, but it benefits the teachers too. Last year students had the opportunity to use BYLD, and thanks to their positive feedback, the students this year have the ability to use BYLD. This program is a necessity to the students at this school, as technology is such a significant factor in today’s education.

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