Since the start of this school year, MCPS has allowed all students to bring any technology they own to school through the Bring Your Own Device policy (BYOD). Everyone at RHS can connect to either staff or student wireless internet from anywhere in the building.
The BYOD policy provides new opportunities for learning and teaching. Students can now bring their laptops to type assignments, check grades or surf the web.
Principal Billie-Jean Bensen is one of the many supporters of the BYOD policy. “One of our school improvement goals is to increase the use of technology in the classrooms,” Bensen said. “We increased the number of Promethean boards in the building to improve student engagement. We figure most students have a phone; we might as well have kids use them for educational advantage.”
Many teachers advocate cell phone use in class. Psychology teacher Christine Zafonte has been having students use apps like Celly and Socrative on their smartphones to keep in touch and participate in polls in class.
“I like using it because it actually infuses technology into class,” Zafonte said. “Students actually want to use their phones in class, but now it’s in an educational manner.”
Zafonte is also the sponsor of RHSa�� chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). In light of a recent tragedy in the Sherwood HS community, the club used Celly to provide support on short notice to get supplies like materials and cards together.
Celly is basically a large group text message where the participants do not need to know each other’s numbers, and are identified only by their username.
Junior Mykela DeVille pointed out a flaw in the new policy. “I think the BYOD policy is pretty good, but it also provides for lots of distractions in the classroom. Kids focus more on their devices rather than their actual school work,” DeVille said.