New initiative kicks off Monday with start of school

Last updated: August 22. 2014 6:57AM - 657 Views
By Tanya Chilton tchilton@civitasmedia.com

Chief Technology Officer Britt Shaw of Elkin City Schools discusses technology with educators.
Chief Technology Officer Britt Shaw of Elkin City Schools discusses technology with educators.
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Elkin City Schools will start a “Bring Your Own Device” initiative this year.

Chief Technology Officer of Elkin City Schools Britt Shaw said, “We will allow students to bring their own laptops, tablets and phones.”

He said the program will allow students to bring devices in which they are familiar to utilize technology in the classroom. Shaw said it will be entirely up to the teacher to decide if and what type of technology can be utilized in their classroom.

Shaw said, “If they feel that a phone is not appropriate for a specified activity, they can specify that a larger device be used.”

Shaw emphasized that the program is not mandatory and is optional.

ECS Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe said all students will be provided equal opportunity with the technology devices.

Students who choose not to bring their own device will still be provided access to appropriate devices for the activity, said Shaw.

He emphasized they do have a mixture of laptop/netbook/tablet carts available throughout the district. Teachers who feel the use of technology would benefit their instruction for a specific class will be able to reserve one of these carts for their class, said Shaw.

The locally-provided devices will provide the same type of capabilities of devices brought from home, he said.

“ECS will not be responsible for any damage to personally-owned devices,” said Shaw.

In addition, he said the school will provide wireless access to a “public” network that students must use while on campus.

Shaw said the “public network” is routed through the same content filter as the rest of the school system, that is CIPA (children internet protection act) compliant. Shaw said if parents have installed filters on a device, that device would continue to go through those filters and the school filter.

Shaw said several school systems in North Carolina are either looking into or piloting a “BYOD initiative.”

“ECS feels that our local BYOD initiative is beneficial to the system and the students,” said Shaw.

He did say since it is a new model they will be looking at the results to gauge the “benefits vs. the pitfalls” and are excited to have the opportunity.

“We are aiming for a better educational experience for students,” said Shaw.

Bledsoe said ECS was fortunate to have a chief technology officer like Shaw and was looking into a program in which students may be able to take the devices home on a loan basis.

More information will be posted on the Elkin City Schools website on Monday, the day students return to class.

Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.

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