Wake schools testing student 'bring-your-own-device' program

Posted December 8, 2014

— Schools have been infusing classrooms with technology for years, but the adoption of smartphones, tablets and laptops has been slow.

In the Wake County Public School System, that's changing.

Brier Creek Elementary School is one of 13 schools in the district that is implementing, over the next two months, a pilot program that encourages students to bring such devices to aid in their daily learning.

It's called BYOD – bring your own device – and since it launched last week at Brier Creek, fifth-grade teacher Anna Hayes says she's already seeing a difference in students' attitudes when it comes to learning.

"The kids love it," she said. "I feel like they are more engaged. I think they are more excited about what we do in class. Even though they are doing the exact same thing, it's amazing how them doing it on a device makes them much more excited."

Students use their devices in groups, so those who do not have their own or whose parents have opted not to participate in the program are not left out.

The school also has tablets and other devices for students to borrow, but there are usually limitations, such as how long a student can use a device. When students bring their own from home, they can use them all day long.

"It's is teaching kids that technology just isn't about social (media)," Hayes said. "It's really teaching them how to get those 21st century skills and incorporate that into their learning."

But it goes beyond getting students eager to learn, says Marlo Gaddis, Wake schools' senior director of Instructional Technology and Library Media Services.

"What they were most excited about is that they were able to do group work and work collaboratively together," she said. "I think that's what the big message is. This is not about bringing the devices to schools, it's about understanding what good instruction with technology is so that we are honoring that instructional time but moving our kids forward."

When students are not using them, they have to store them in their backpacks, lockers or other places designated by the teacher.

What they look at is also limited.

The school system's secure Wi-Fi network prevents students from accessing inappropriate websites, as well as social media sites, such as Facebook.

In addition to Brier Creek Elementary, four other schools – Lake Myra Elementary School in Wendell; Cary High School in Cary; Vernon Malone College and Career Academy; and Wake NC State STEM Early College High School in Raleigh – are adopting the program this month.


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  • Terry Watts Dec 15, 2014
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    Students use their devices in groups, so those who do not have their own or whose parents have opted not to participate in the program are not left out.

  • theliberadicator Dec 10, 2014

    What about all the poor kids, the ones that can't afford lunch and get that free, what are they supposed to do? Maybe the great Wake schools will force the parents of kids who can afford it to buy one for those that can't.

  • Brian Jenkins Dec 9, 2014

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    I think you missed the point. I know many parents without degrees that can teach their kids. I dont know too many people in those professions you mentioned that can do them without the proper training.

  • andreanicole686 Dec 9, 2014

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    Yes, because thats what everyone uses in the real world.

  • Terry Watts Dec 9, 2014
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    "This is what happens when you let people with degrees in education determine how to teach."

    That's right. Just like when you let people with experience with plumbing determine how to fix your sink... Or when you let people with experience dealing with medical procedures determine how to cure your illness... Or when we let people with a degree in law determine how to best defend their client in court...

  • Matt Wood Dec 9, 2014
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    Seriously, when I was in 5th grade a car T-boned our bus going about 65mph (in a 45mph zone). Their car was totaled, the bus had a single scratch and no kids were hurt.

    And I can't believe those who say students shouldn't be using technology and learning how to work collaboratively using it - those are two of the biggest skills needed in the job market!

  • iopsyc Dec 9, 2014

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    Those transports are one of the safest. most effective ways of moving large numbers of students each day. Why do you believe them to be dangerous?

  • iopsyc Dec 9, 2014

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    Who would rather have determining how to teach?

  • Lorna Schuler Dec 9, 2014
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    They are providing students with the option. In other words, they are not required to do so. There is a difference between option and requirement. If it is an option, then no, the school would not be responsible for the device. It would be the responsibility of the student to take care of it.

  • Classified Dec 9, 2014

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    The Cary BOYD FAQ is totally unambiguous that participating “is a privilege and not a requirement” so if you disagree, leave it home. Problem solved.