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Bring Your Own Device: The Ups and Downs

Derek Pezo '19
28 January 2019

Every year in Passaic Valley, there are inevitably changes that people expect to improve our overall curriculum and learning experiences. These past few months have seen the recent installation of the Bring Your Own Device program, which allows students to use their own laptops and computers in school. This is meant to further solidify the students participation in school, along with expanding learning capabilities in the classroom. While it has definitely proved beneficial at this point, it does raise some eyebrows as to how effective this program really is.

This new policy was first instituted as of the beginning of this year. “We needed to look at where we were last year, and decide what we were missing.” stated Mr. Meluso, the school’s Network and Computer System Administrator. “If the school were to provide laptops for each student, the cost would be tremendous. The next best thing would be for the students to bring in their already purchased computers for them to work with.”

Along with being able to use their own devices, students have been giving charging stations in each classroom and access to the school’s wireless internet connection. With this, the Passaic Valley hopes that this can benefit education and participation among the classrooms.

But has it been working?

Bring Your Own Device This answer can go both ways. Yes, it is a step in the right direction for the improvement of the school’s curriculum. But in order for this program to be effective, every teacher needs to instill devices within their lessons.

“I love the fact that I am able to have my work with me at all times, but there are some teachers that choose not to allow students to work from their computers in class.” states Danielle Gaita ‘19. “This just makes the entire program unnecessary if this continues to happen, not to mention having an extra thing to carry in my backpack.”

While the purpose of this initiative is geared towards all classes, administration intended for the English department to make the best use of this.

“I think students are so used to being "plugged" in that it just complements their lifestyle.” says Mr. Schwab, an English teacher. “This is the direction we are headed in, and I can tell students are more interested typing than writing.  As a result they seem to put more of an effort into fleshing out their thoughts than they might if they were writing on paper.”

Schwab is right. We are living in the future, and the future is technology. No doubt that it provides students with a new way of taking notes, but I have noticed that other students have different thoughts. From my own perceptions, classroom participation has remained the same relatively. Just because they have a screen that they are acclimated to infront of them, it doesn’t necessarily give students incentive to be more attentive in class. If anything, it could be more of a distraction at times. Not to mention the struggles that some people go through who don’t even own laptops to begin with. For these students, laptops can be provided for the day in the library for temporary use. However, it seems like the library is almost never available whenever a student needs a computer.

Since this is a very new initiative, there are bound to be bumps in the road. Not everything will work out as expected, and this means that new boundaries will have to be crossed. I also take notice that not all of my teachers are attempting to use BYOD to improve their curriculum when I think it is needed. With all of these pros and cons at hand, I believe that the school is adapting in a way that will help everyone. But since the program hasn’t been in effective for even a full year, the room for improvement is plentiful. In order for everyone to benefit from BYOD, communication needs to be in order, along with teamwork and enthusiasm.