With the increased focus on preparing students to become productive citizens in a digitally influenced 21st century, many schools have begun to integrate the use of technology across the whole school environment. Some schools have implemented a 1:1 program where devices are provided to students by the schools for use at school as well as at home. Other schools have adopted a BYOT, or Bring Your Own Technology, policy for student use of technology within classes to complete assignments, participate in class discussions and communicate with people around the world. For the purposes of BYOT, “Technology” refers to privately owned wireless and/or portable electronic handheld equipment such as laptops, smartphones, eReaders, mp3 players and tablets.
No matter the method of technology integration within your school, there as several factors that parents and/or guardians should be informed about in regards to the use of technology within the school.
- First, review the school’s policy for student use of technology. Does the school have an open use policy or a monitored use policy? Open use means that students can use their devices freely within the building as opposed to a monitored use policy where students are only allowed to use their devices under direct teacher supervision. What is the school’s policy for lost and/or stolen devices? Most school policies will state that the school, school district nor school employees will be responsible for lost and/or stolen devices.
- Second, determine what type of device you are willing to invest in for school use. iPods, mp3 players, and tablets such as Nook HD and Kindle Fire HD are popular yet inexpensive devices that students can use to participate in BYOT activities in elementary to middle school. Middle to high School students can participate in BYOT activities by using the same devices as well as laptops, netbooks, and smartphones.
- Third, monitoring student use of technology and securing student devices is very important. Parents can take several measures to monitor their child’s use of the devices, including setting time limits to not sharing account information for downloading apps. Talk to your service provider about ways to monitor text messages, photo sharing, and apps. There are several ways to secure your child’s device. Most devices have a “find my device” feature under settings. Turning that on will allow you to locate a lost and/or stolen device. Also, insure the device with your insurance company. If a device is lost and/or stolen, fill out a police report with your school resource office and submit the report number to your insurance company. You can also have your child’s device engraved with their name and identifying symbol. This will allow for easy identification of the device.
Technology use is becoming an integral part of the school environment and the ever-changing landscape of the future. Knowing how to support your school and student will help prepare them to be success for life in the 21st century.
Fredericka L. Green is a middle school assistant principal.
You can follow her on twitter @thetravelingap.