Teachers should utilize BYOD more in classroooms


Lindsey Rodman

Staff Writer Andrew Roberts writes that the BYOD program needs to be used more in the classroom.

Andrew Roberts, Staff Writer

Every day, hundreds of students bring their own computers to school as part of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program that was introduced about a year ago.  Yet most teachers have struggled to adapt to the program, teaching similarly to how they did before the program began.  

On a daily basis, everyone is often given multiple handouts, and aside from an occasional online assignment, the devices stay in our bags, adding extra weight as we complete assignments and take notes on paper. 

Teachers spend a good amount of time getting these handouts ready.  But these handouts aren’t made with paper and pencil. They are typically made using software such as Google Docs.  Everyone in the district has a school email and a Google Drive account. Physically making copies and giving these printouts to every student is not only a waste of time, but also a waste of paper.  It would be a lot easier for teachers to share these handouts and have students complete them digitally, using resources like Google Drive

Yes, not all students bring computers, and some families may not be able to afford a computer for each of their kids.  But there is a device-rental system at Algonquin, and I feel that people would get in the habit of borrowing devices if they knew the devices would be used more often.  According to a June Harbinger article, only 60 to 90 devices were borrowed each day during the 2018-19 school year.

As a Chromebook owner, I have utilized my device in school.  I keep track of my homework in a document on my computer. In addition, I often ask my teachers if I can type my notes and assignments, even when given a handout.  

Teachers may struggle to trust their students to stay on track when doing assignments on a computer, as they also have the option to browse the internet or play games when using computers.  There are some situations where computers are not appropriate. This is especially true when it could facilitate cheating.  

But we’re in high school.  If a student wants to blow off an assignment by getting distracted on their computer, that should be on them.  Aside from making sure students aren’t cheating, I don’t believe teachers necessarily need to monitor students closely when they are using their own computers. 

There are some assignments that are difficult to do on a computer, and teachers may be concerned about drastic changes.  But the majority of my assignments are doable on my Chromebook, and it would make less work, not more work for teachers to use BYOD to their advantage.  

Even if teachers don’t think to use BYOD more, there are things we can do to utilize our devices.  Self-advocacy is huge. It’s not hard to ask our teachers if we can take notes on our computers, and I’ve done this in the past.  I hope device rental is encouraged more and teachers find efficient ways to use BYOD. But regardless, we can use BYOD to make the school day easier for everyone.