THS Launches BYOD

Ian Matz ’14

“What’s that in your hands?”  “Put it away!”  “Give me the phone!”  Teachers dislike it when their students are distracted in class by an electronic device, but are these traditional demands a thing of the past? Trumbull High School students will begin to find that out this week. The school officially opened up its Wi-Fi network to the student body on Monday morning.

Over the past year, the Trumbull Board of Education has been devising a policy that will enable students to bring their own electronic devices to school and connect to the Wi-Fi outlets that have been built into each classroom.  Nicknamed BYOD, or “Bring Your Own Device”, the new policy was scheduled to launch Monday, September 16th but had been delayed due to a recent power issue at the school.      

It took some time for the policy to be written as many components were accounted for and reviewed during the developmental process.  Many supported the policy while others argued that major issues could potentially arise from BYOD.

Proponents of the plan say inviting technology into the classroom will engage students in learning through a variety of methods of teaching.  Sam McKinney, a senior at Trumbull High, wants to see a change to some of the lesson plans through the use of electronic devices.  “We live in a day and age where technology seems to have taken over our lives.  Why don’t we put our phones and tablets to other uses like education?  A little interactive learning couldn’t hurt anyone.”

While many agree with McKinney, opponents say the policy is accompanied by a few potential pitfalls.

Steven Rotondi, a parent of two high school students, argues, “There’s no way a teacher can monitor every one of his or her students and make sure the teens are using appropriate sites.  If little Johnny is sitting in the corner with his head in his lap playing Angry Birds, are you supposed to walk around to every student and make sure he or she is staying on task? It just seems impractical.”  Teenagers are likely to become distracted in the presence of an electronic device with internet connection.  Rotondi is not wrong for mentioning that some students will abuse the policy.  It might just be too difficult to ensure that each student is doing what he or she is supposed to at all times.

Theft is also a huge issue.  Is the school supposed to be responsible for lost, stolen, or broken items?  Plus, Trumbull is a town with residents of varying income levels.  Is it fair to have a BYOD policy when there are students who cannot participate in the new style of learning simply because their families do not have the income to let them?

On paper, BYOD seems like a great idea, and there are a plenty of advantages of installing Wi-Fi in the classroom.  Yet, the policy still has many questions that need to be answered.  Principal Guarino views the situation positively but as a work in progress. “I think BYOD is a great thing and I’m confident of the potential that will be created from allowing our students to use electronic devices in class.”

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