It was A PILOT PROGRAM beginning with the First Semester of the 2012-2013 school year for grades 8-12 permitting students to bring their own Internet connected devices to school. The program was expanded to include all grades at the Middle School for the 2013-2014 school year.
In 2010 the U.S. Department of Education introduced the National Education Technology Plan. The Plan "calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve student learning and accelerate and scale up the adoption of effective practices." The National Education Technology Plan's rationale is specific when explaining the reason technology must be integrated into today's education:
Technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levels. Technology will help us execute collaborative teaching strategies combined with professional learning that better prepare and enhance educators' competencies and expertise over the course of their careers. To shorten our learning curve, we should look to other kinds of enterprises, such as business and entertainment, that have used technology to improve outcomes while increasing productivity.
In order to better gauge what level of access that our students have to technology at home, in December of 2011, Tallmadge City Schools administered a Technology Accessibility Survey to all students, grades K-12. The results of the survey can be found here.
The District believes that these personally owned devices should be allowed into the schools as a way to enhance the educational experience.
What are the Hardware and Software Considerations?
- What types of computing devices may my child bring to school?
Students may use devices that fall into the following categories: (1) laptops, (2) netbooks, (3) tablets, and (4) e-Readers. In some instances, teachers may allow cell phones/smartphones to be used.
- How can my child's computing device connect to the Internet?
Tallmadge City Schools provides a wireless network which students may connect to while using their devices in the building.
Additionally, students may use an Internet connection from an outside provider. In this case, the family will be responsible for any expense incurred using this type of Internet connection.
- Are there suggested accessories?
Providing a padded bag or protective sleeve is suggested. This will provide more protection for the day to day use of these computing devices. A headset with microphone will be useful when accessing a website with audio and/or video. Please be aware that while carrying a computer in a bag from class to class, no books or other non-technology supplies may be stored in the bag.
- Will there be "charging stations" so my child's electronic device can be recharged?
We anticipate that not every class will be using an electronic device in a lesson every day. Considering today's electronic device battery technology, the device's battery charge should be sufficient for lessons requiring use of the device throughout the day. "Charging stations" will not be provided.
- Are there any specifications for the type of laptop, netbook, or tablet my child may bring to school?
Buying a computer is a personal choice. Ultimately, each person will need to choose the device that works best for his/her child.
Generally speaking, as long as the device is able to connect to the wireless network and access the world wide web, this should suffice.
- Can my child use an iPad or Android tablet?
Any type of tablet, netbook or laptop can be used. Whichever you choose, the device must be able to connect wirelessly to the Tallmadge City Schools' wireless network.
- What software will be needed on my child's computer?
No software needs to be purchased.
The Tallmadge City Schools uses Google Docs to store student work. This is a web-based file storage system providing many productivity tools including a word processor, spreadsheet program, and a presentation program. Students will be able to use these capabilities provided by the Tallmadge City Schools, through Google Docs, rather than purchasing software.
Because purchasing a computing device is a personal choice, anyone may purchase and use other productivity tools that best suits one's personal needs.
Whose Responsibility Is It?
- Who pays for the technology brought to school?
These devices will be purchased by and remain the property of the family.
- Who is responsible for any repairs or updating to personal computing devices?
Students and/or their families are responsible for their personal computing devices at all times.
Tallmadge City Schools does not have the technology support staff to repair or update personal computing devices.
- Who is responsible for damage, loss, or theft of devices your child brings to school?
Families must stress the responsibilities their children have when bringing their own computing devices to school. Any devices students bring to school are their sole responsibility.
Tallmadge City Schools takes no responsibility to search for lost or stolen devices nor is there any assumption of financial responsibility by Tallmadge City Schools for damaged, lost or stolen personal computing devices.
- Will the family need to have Internet access at home?
No. It would be helpful, however, to have some form of Internet access (wired or wireless) in order for a child to make full use of school resources from home, as well the multitude of resources available on the World Wide Web. But, it is not required in order for a child to use a personal computing device at school.
- Does Tallmadge City Schools suggest any other considerations?
It may be wise to acquire theft or hazard insurance.
If purchasing a new computing device for a child to use at school, we recommend purchasing the extended warranty.
- How will a child's education differ if the family does not have an Internet-connected device to bring to school?
Many lessons are collaborative allowing students to work together, sharing information accessed through personal devices. When the work is individual, students may use computers and other devices located in classrooms and/or in the Media Center or by signing out laptops from the laptop carts.
No child's learning experience or academic performance will be affected because he or she does not have an Internet-connected device to bring to school. Tallmadge City Schools is committed to reducing technology inequity so every child can learn equally.
- Will my child need to have a signed Acceptable Use Policy on file?
Yes. In order for the Tallmadge City School District to supervise student use of the computer network and the Internet, both the Student Acceptable Use Policy and the Bring Your Own Device Pilot Program - Student Technology Acceptable Use Addendum forms must be signed by all students who want to have access to educational resources. Parents/guardians of students under age 18 are also required to read and sign the agreement. Students 18 or older may sign the document themselves. Signing the document indicates that the student and parent/guardian have read and understand the expectations of the Tallmadge City School District.
- When can my child use the electronic device at school?
Students may use their electronic devices in class as instructed by the teacher. It is not expected that a teacher will need students to bring electronic devices everyday.
Students may use their electronic devices during Classroom instruction, Academy, lunch period, when in the Media Center or when otherwise authorized by school personnel provided that the devices are being used for Academic purposes only.
- Will my child be expected to use his or her computing device both at school and at home?
Just as with traditional assignments, some assignments may need to be completed at home. If there is a computing device malfunction or an interruption of Internet connectivity at home, a student may use computers at school before or after the school day or during Academy.
- Will this program go district-wide?
At the conclusion of the school year, Tallmadge High School and Tallmadge Middle School staff and district technology staff will examine the effectiveness of the program. This data will be shared with other building administrators, district administration and the Board of Education, after which any further implementation plans will be evaluated.
- Will students be able to print documents from their personal computing devices?
Students will not be able to access printers at Tallmadge City Schools from their personal computing devices. We will provide alternatives as follows: (1) printing capabilities from school computers, and/or (2) electronic delivery of documents through email or other online methods.
- Where will my child's work be stored?
Students will be encouraged to store their work on their District provided Google Docs accounts. In so doing, the student will have access to their work wherever they have internet access.
All Electronic Devices:
- Classroom staff has the ultimate control of when and what type of electronic devices are used in the classroom.
- As with reading a printed book, students reading from eReaders should be permitted as you would with a printed book.
- The hallways should be electronic device free.
- Students should not be sitting in the halls using their devices.
- Students are not permitted to have their headphones/earbuds in when moving through the hallways.
Mobile phones in the classroom:
- School personnel may allow students to use mobile phones in classrooms for class activities to access the Internet or other capabilities.
- An enhanced classroom management strategy: school personnel may ask students to put their mobile phones on the corner of their desk.