Chromebooks: The Perfect BYOD Devices for Schools
Recently, I learned about a school in my own backyard in Vancouver that has implemented a BYOD policy for all its students. While BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, has been available at a number of schools across Canada over the past several years, Abbotsford Traditional Middle School in BC is somewhat unique. The school has actually created a program around BYOD, making computing devices standard learning tools for all students.
With a number of considerations in mind, educators at Abbotsford Traditional Middle School opted to make Chromebooks the standard device for learning for all students. Chromebooks were the right choice because they keep costs down—an important consideration for many parents—while giving students the flexibility to access a wide range of online software and resources. To make it even easier for parents, the school gave them a couple of options of Chromebooks models and partnered with a local Staples store to streamline the process of purchasing the devices.
As part of its partnership with the school, Staples provides financing options for student devices. This helps to ensure that all students can have access to the device they need to learn. Staples also offers students who are a part of the BYOD program a comprehensive warranty plan that allows students to quickly get replacement devices if theirs are damaged. Damage covered includes accidents such as spills or drops.
Monitoring & Security
For many parents and educators, online safety is a concern when it comes to devices in schools. Another concern is keeping students focused on learning when the Internet offers so many opportunities for distraction. To mitigate these concerns, educators at Abbotsford Traditional keep an eye on students using monitoring software. This helps keeps kids on track while ensuring they’re being safe online.
Even though the BYOD program at Abbotsford Traditional Middle School has only been in place for several months, the changes in the way students have been interacting with the curriculum have been remarkable. I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of the educators at the school, and the change that’s made the biggest impression on them is the fact that students are not just consuming content since they began using the Chromebooks but creating it as well. They’re choosing to tackle class projects in new ways: by creating videos, podcasts, and other new approaches. The educators have noticed that access to the devices is helping students develop 21st century thinking and learning. They’re developing critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration skills.
Building on this year’s success, Abbotsford Traditonal will continue the BYOD program next year. As a parent who appreciates the role of technology in our lives today, I hope to see similar programs in my kids’ school in the near future.