How to Mangage Student Devices

05 Jul

You hear in educational news the buzz term BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. Many districts are relying on students to provide their own technology. This is a simple budgetary solution to addressing student technology. On the other hand, you have districts that see the need to bridge the Digital Divide and provide the devices. My district is a case in point. This year, we are rolling out a full digital curriculum and one-to-one student devices. The question we are toiling with is “How do we manage all these devices?” Seriously, if the district is handing every student a new tablet/laptop, how do we ensure students take care of the equipment and bring it to school every day?

My question to you is twofold: what safeguards do you recommend putting in place to limit loss due to negligence or theft and what do you do when a student loses or forgets their device given that all curriculum is digital?



9 responses to “How to Mangage Student Devices

  1. Michael Barbour

    July 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Cheronne, it is kind of interesting you ask this question tonight, as earlier today on Twitter someone had posted a picture of five hard cover books that their child had brought home from school (not sure if the picture was old or just today). But the total cost of the books at retail prices were some $487 (I checked them on Amazon myself). The caption in Twitter said something like, we trust them enough to send them home with $500 of these, but not technology.

    I know that it might not help a great deal – and I believe one of your colleagues has also posted an entry this week about this very issue – and I think it was something that his district has already done. I don’t recall which student off the top of my head, but I’m pretty sure it was one of the male ones. So check your RSS feed, as you two may be able to learn from each other on this topic.

    • cedwardsbms

      July 6, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Thanks for the heads up about someone else having the same issue, I shall find them! As for trusting them with hundreds of dollars worth of textbooks…we don’t and haven’t for years. I remember the days of having to create book covers and reviewing pages for damage, but now we only have classroom sets – yet still expect homework. I find it all rather ironic..

  2. tpichurski

    July 6, 2014 at 5:10 am

    This is an interesting situation – our little school (Gr. 4/5/6) has just recently opened up our network to student-owned devices. We also provide a 3:1 student:school-owned device ratio, but those devices don’t leave the building.
    We are not using a digital curriculum, although I’d like to say we are blended, it’s more accurate to say that we are using a traditional approach with digital supports where effective.

    I don’t have much to say in terms of answering the questions you’ve posed, but I do look forward to following the conversation.

    • cedwardsbms

      July 6, 2014 at 9:11 am

      Personally Paul, I would have liked to have a blended setting like you have, at least for a short while. It would have been awesome to have some time to get the students using basic computer technology skills with the new devices before going full tilt with an all digital curriculum. Especially since we just got all of the teachers on board with doing at least basic PowerPoint with the interactive whiteboards and new presentation systems. It is definitely going to be a learning year for everyone

  3. Rachel Trosino

    July 6, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I work in a one-to-one district! We have had the program for four years now, I believe (maybe three – I can’t remember), and I will say it hasn’t been perfect but it’s beneficial for sure. I think students rise to the occasion when you trust them. What our district does is ask students to pay an insurance fee each year for the device that covers basic damage insurance – software installation, updating, battery or key replacement, etc. However, major breakage or damage is not covered by the insurance, and students sign a contract that agrees they will (or their parents will) pay for any further damage to the computer beyond the basic repairs. At the end of each year, the computers are collected by our tech department for updates and maintenance over the summer. If a student refuses to pay or damages the computer more than once in a way that proves they cannot be trusted, they lose the privilege of the device. But the vast majority of the students prove responsible enough to handle the devices because they use similar ones (their phones) on a regular basis. Yes, some of them have broken phones or broken screens, but most can handle the responsibility. Also, as part of the one-to-one, we give students book bags or computer bags (depending on which generation of computer they have) in which to carry the computer. This also helps to protect them. It does require a lot of extra work and cost, yes, but it helps our students adjust to computer use on a regular basis and especially helps those who do not have access to a computer at home. (We also offer a reduced cost insurance for students who cannot afford it.)

    • cedwardsbms

      July 6, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Thank you Rachel for the insight! I am sure the students will rise to the occasion 🙂 We too give students backpacks and are required by state law to provide all required student materials. So, that brings me back to – how do the students get their work done if they don’t have their device?

  4. Stacie Barker

    July 10, 2014 at 6:31 am

    At my previous school, we had 30 iPads for the school to use. We got them after I had already brought my own personal iPad to school for my Kindergarten kiddos to use. Once our school got a set of 30, the IT staff was hesitant to let my Kindergarten kids use them because they were worried they couldn’t handle them. I had to fight for my kids and explain that they had been using mine for months and nothing had happened.

    If you teach them responsibility, how to handle them properly, and have trust in them I think they will be okay to handle their devices.

  5. misslodwick

    July 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I agree with what everyone is saying. I don’t have the experience of this, but I know people who do. Some districts will charge the student the price of the device if it is lost, damaged, or stolen. If it is not paid by the time they are seniors, they don’t get their diploma. I do feel like students would love the idea of having their own device and be responsible for the most part, but you will always have those select few! (I have heard of other strategies also, but am having a hard time remembering what other districts do). Congrats on this program and best of luck!

    • cedwardsbms

      July 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      I just wanted to thank everyone for their input and update you all…

      The district has decided that all parents and students have to go through training on the proper care of the “laplets” (one of the 6th graders decided it needed a hybrid name since the device is a laptop/tablet combination), before students will be allowed to take the device home. The parents will have the option to purchase low cost insurance for extra protection. In addition, the district purchased padded laptop backpacks for each student. The roll-out is still a couple of weeks out, but the students are getting very excited and so am I!


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