Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) was certainly not a term or a concept that K-12 was willing to embrace. Think about it. BYOD suggests allowing students to use their devices in an environment where cell phones have been banned since their inception. However, as legislation has forced districts to use digital curriculum and computer-based testing, the ability for districts to provide sufficient devices to meet these unfunded requirements has become untenable. The idea of leveraging the devices students already own became very attractive.
A smart BYOD deployment begins with policy. In Miami-Dade, we created a BYOD policy for all students and employees. The simple policy included two requirements: 1) students had to connect to the Miami-Dade filtered network and 2) teachers needed to approve the use of the devices in their classes. Enforcing the first was treated as part of our progressive discipline policy. We wanted to allow students to use their own devices while practicing good digital citizenship. The second requirement ensured that we had teacher buy-in and support.
As the chief information officer for the nation’s fourth-largest school district, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Deborah Karcher plans and directs information technology strategy and maintains the integrity of information systems and a network infrastructure that supports more than 400 schools and administrative locations, 45,000 employees, and 340,000 students. She is directly responsible for more than 500 information-system employees and a $30 million technology budget.
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