As the feature article shows, many schools are responding to tight budgets and an increasing demand for technology by asking students to bring their own devices to school. These policies have financial and emotional repercussions and raise important questions about equity. This toolkit presents students with an opportunity to talk openly about BYOD policies by putting them in conversation with one another and encouraging them to share their opinions with school administrators.
- What is a BYOD policy?
- What are the potential implications of BYOD policies for educational equity?
- What potential emotional ramifications do BYOD policies hold for students?
- Ask students to share the different times and ways they use technology in school or for school-related work. Explain that many schools and districts are implementing Bring Your Own Device policies. If your school or district already has such a policy in place, share a copy of it with your class. Explain when the policy was started and who was involved in the decision to implement it. If your district does not have such a policy, allow your students to envision what such a policy might look like. For now, they are not talking about pros and cons but simply imagining what the policy would entail.
- As a group, give students a few minutes to brainstorm some advantages and disadvantages to BYOD policies. Ask them to consider what might motivate a school district to implement such a policy. Then, ask them to reflect on how such a policy would (or does) affect them personally. How might it affect students from different cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds? Some students may not want to share their answers, so consider allowing private reflection time.
- Break students into partnerships and instruct each individual to write up to five questions for his or her partner about BYOD policies. Questions might ask their opinion of the policy, the financial implications of the policy for their family and the emotional impact of the policy for the student. Give students the chance to interview one another, but remind them that some of these questions can be quite sensitive. The student answering the question may decide exactly how much he or she wants to say.
- Following the partner discussions, instruct students to write a paragraph summarizing what they found out. Allow students to share their paragraphs in small groups. Then, have each group develop between three and five summation points explicating their views on BYOD policies.
- Bring the groups back together and have them share their key points. As a class, create a list of seven to 10 points about BYOD policies that you feel are key to share with administrators. Publish these points and give them to your school administrator. Encourage your administrator to write a response to students.