Written by Juliana Jones

Illustrated by Tess Buckley

At the start of the instructional year, the District implemented a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy, requiring all students to bring a personal electronic device, such as a laptop or school-issued Chromebook, to class every day. While some teachers prefer that their students complete work on paper, others believe that a one-to-one device initiative could be the first step towards new and innovative learning models.

Of the 46 anonymous teachers surveyed, the majority of them, 54.3%, said their students only sometimes use devices in their classes, while 32.6% use them consistently, and 13% not at all. One Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher says they have their students use devices consistently because “students are more engaged when they can be actively engaged with their technology.” 

An English teacher agreed, saying, “Canvas is a very robust learning management system. I like having all coursework in one place. It allows me to get instant responses from every student at once, allowing me to see if they are correctly applying what was presented to them.“

However, one math teacher disagreed. “[I] want them to engage in person with paper. We do more hands-on activities which are easier to do on paper than on a screen.” 

Those who have their students use devices in class inconsistently do so for a variety of reasons. Some say it’s better for the environment, more convenient, and prepares classes for distance learning if we have to go back. One history teacher said they use devices inconsistently because “students haven’t quite demonstrated that they are reliably bringing a charged device every day.”

Physics and math teacher Dillon Hu has mixed opinions about the school’s one-to-one device policy. “When I was working with Ms. Brown and Mr. Vanderway, we talked about what software we wanted to run on Chromebooks. We wanted to return to that when students collected data and did data analysis.” But he also says that devices pose an increased risk of cheating. “That’s why last year I didn’t do any tests, because in my opinion, you can’t trust it. If you can get away with cheating, it’s almost like ‘why wouldn’t you cheat?’”

English teacher Livija Kelly has similar mixed feelings. “There are some really fun activities that the students get into that are only online. The majority of my students love Kahoot, and they get really engaged with that. But also, you know, practicing certain skills. For example, we’re debating something in English III, and having the students actually go up to the board and write down the arguments for and against it, and then being able to step back and look at it is more beneficial than typing it on one document.”

Video production teacher John Giambruno is optimistic. “This is an amazing opportunity to finally pivot to the 21st century classroom.”

Juliana Jones

Juliana Jones is a senior and in her first year in journalism at M-A. She enjoys writing about local events and new school policies. In her free time, Juliana enjoys figure skating and spending quality time with loved ones.

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