Bring Your Own Device

  • As computers have increased in power and decreased in cost and size, it has become possible for more and more students to bring their own computers into school. However, the "computers" may not look like traditional boxes and screens. Today's smartphones, iPods, and tablets have more computing power than NASA's Mars Rover. It has become possible to use a personal device to perform the same research, computing, and content creation tasks that required a full-size desktop computer a few years ago. This shift has caused many schools, including Oregon, to allow students to bring in their own computing devices to support their learning.

    This is obviously very different from when most parents were in school, so it may seem a bit odd. It is important to remember that technology has changed all aspects of our world, and schools have a responsibility to teach students how to effectively manage and use technology in school so that they will have the skills to use it effectively after they graduate. The skills students need are not just technical- they must also be able to communicate effectively, know when to use technology and when not to, and be able to use technology for the task at hand without being distracted. Like most skills, these do not come naturally but can be learned, and are improved with practice. Students in the Oregon Schools will learn these skills and take greater responsibility for them as they mature.

    Although students in any grade are allowed to bring devices, students at OMS and OHS are encouraged to bring their own Internet-ready computing devices to school to be used in their classwork. Our goals in bringing devices into the classroom are greater personalization of the experience, increased ownership of the learning experience, and improved access to information and resources.

    Students should be reminded that having a device at school has responsibility attached to it, and we encourage you to have a conversation about the care and acceptable use of technology in the classroom environment. Acceptable devices need to be able to access the internet and connect to the school’s public wireless network. Devices that are most often used include laptops, tablets, iPads, iPod touches, Chromebooks, etc.

    All use of technology, whether personally-owned or school-owned, must abide by all applicable school rules, board policies, and acceptable use guidelines. See the links at the bottom of this page for these documents.

    Equity

    The Oregon Schools are committed to providing equitable learning to all students. Students without a device of their own will still be able to fully participate in their classes using school-provided or shared technologies. The minor performance gap among different devices is much less of a concern than the access gap between individuals with access to technology and those who don't.

    What kind of device should my student bring?

    The district recommends Chromebooks for students in grades 7-12. Technology devices, though worth the investment, can be expensive, so it’s best to use something you already have, rather than go out and buy an additional item. However, if you wish to purchase something, a Chromebook is a good choice for academic use.

    There are a few main things that all devices need in order to function well in our learning environment:

    1. Wireless network capability (wifi), to connect to the school network
    2. A web browser that works with Google Apps
    3. A screen

    We do not recommend smartphones for the following reasons:

    1. Their small screens, small keyboards, and less powerful processors render them less capable of doing academic work.
    2. Smartphones generally have data plans which allow students to access the Internet without the filtering and security provided by the district's wireless network.

    Why no 3G/4G data plans?

    Many devices, including all smartphones, come with a data plan that allows the user to access the Internet over the cellular network. This is a problem for schools because we are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for students, which includes restricting access to inappropriate content on the Internet. The district wireless network provides fast Internet access that is content filtered.

    A 3G or 4G data connection on a smartphone, iPad, or Chromebook bypasses the school network, which means the user has unrestricted access to the Internet. If you as a parent choose to provide your student with a device that has a data plan, you, not the school, become responsible for any content filtering on the device. Regardless of the device or method of Internet access a student uses, the student must still comply with all rules in Board policies and student handbooks.

    In other words, if a student uses a device in a way that is inappropriate or distracting to the learning environment, staff have the responsibility to issue consequences which could include taking away the device temporarily, even if a student is using a personally-owned smartphone with a 3G/4G data plan.

    Note: Most Internet access and cellular phone providers have ways for parents to control, restrict, and/or monitor their child's Internet activity. Please contact your provider for details, and either apply content restrictions to the device, or work with your provider to filter Internet access on the device.

    Keeping focus

    As students grow and mature, they take more responsibility for their own learning. Just like anything else in the classroom, if technology devices are becoming a distraction instead of a benefit, teachers will help students make better choices about their use. This is part of teaching students how to manage their own learning, and is a skill that students will need in work and life in the ever-connected 21st century.

    We expect that as technology increases in power and decreases in cost, powerful computing devices will become just another "school supply" like a calculator or slide rule was for previous generations. We will continue to provide access to modern technology, and work with students and parents to use our resources to the maximum benefit.
3rd graders use Chromebooks for keyboarding and writing