Are teachers Rejoicing at the New BYOD Policy?: By Christine S.
Survey Shows How Saunders Teachers Feel About the New BYOD Policy
At the beginning of the 2017 school year, Saunders Middle School altered their BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy in several significant ways. During previous times, students were permitted to use their phones in class when the teacher allowed it, and occasionally during lunch on Fridays as a reward. Now, however, students may be on their devices in the hallway, during the last ten minutes of lunch every day, and in class at the discretion of the teacher. Most students highly favored the change in policy. However, a recently conducted survey shows that teachers at Saunders Middle School are indeterminate about whether the change in policy is a good one.
Survey results show that about 53.3% of the Saunders staff support the new BYOD policy. They say that the new policy provides "an added resource for learning" and "it allows students the opportunity to show their responsibility using their devices." Certainly, the students seem to enjoy it. One teacher stated that "a good compromise, which the new BYOD policy is, is effective for maintaining 'loose' but effective control over a student body."
"We need to move with the times," one educator explained. "Technology is what students are used to, so we should include that in our teaching. Besides, the kids love listening to music in the halls."
Overall, the main benefits of the new policy seem to be that students are happier, the hallway environment is more relaxed, tech in the cafeteria helps the teachers walking around, and students can practice responsibility in a safe, controlled location.
"It also allows the staff to help students who do not follow the rules and point them in the right direction," one instructor stated.
However, 46.7% of teachers prefer the old policy over the current one. Some say that kids having their phones with them is "unnecessary with all the laptops and technology we have available." Others argue that "using devices in the hallways between classes is too distracting and in some cases causing students to move too slowly to class." It is a concern that devices are "a potential safety hazard as students walk through crowded hallways with their heads down."
Apart from safety issues, teachers feel that the new policy may be limiting social interaction. "I would like to see students talking in the hall with each other more face to face and at lunch," a preceptor reflected. Another stated that "students should communicate without ear buds in. They don't need to be on their devices or listening to music all the time. They could read more, too."
"You can't build relationships between students or student-staff when everyone has their earbuds in and are listening to music rather than each other," one teacher observed. "I feel that as a society we (are) so technology dependent already and a break is good," another remarked.
In conclusion, there are clearly pros and cons to the new BYOD policy. While the students favor the new BYOD policy, teachers and administrators at Saunders Middle School are split almost half and half as to whether the new policy is an improvement.
Christian Lous Lange, a Norwegian historian, teacher, and political scientist, once declared that "technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master." When used correctly, technology can be an enormously helpful tool. However, we must treat it cautiously so that it does not control us. Is the new BYOD policy a good balance between past and future, traditionalism and improvement? Or should we revert to the old policy and place more restrictions on devices? Only you can decide.