Last Modified: Saturday, August 04, 2012 12:00 PM
Most schools encourage students to leave their personal electronic devices at home. Jennings High School isn’t one of them.
The school will pilot a “bring your own device,” or BYOD, initiative this fall as part of a Striving Readers’ Comprehensive Literacy grant.
Assistant Principal Laurie Duhon said students in grades 7-12 will be encouraged to bring their mini notebooks, iPod Touches, iPads, tablets and e-readers to school for educational purposes. No gaming devices or cellphones will be allowed.
“We have to realize we are in the 21st century and technology is changing daily,” Duhon said. “If we don’t keep up and let the students learn in the domain they are used to, we are doing a disservice.
“Hopefully it will also teach the students to use technology in a more responsible way for educational purposes and that they will see the value of an education.”
The devices will be used for independent reading and research and small-group discussions in designated areas, including the library and academic center. Students will not have access to the devices in the gym, agriculture shop or outdoors.
Teachers will have a say in whether the devices can be used in their classrooms, Duhon said. Students who do not have personal electronic devices or who choose not to bring them to school will not be penalized or miss out on instruction.
The school will monitor the use of the devices and review the program in December to work through issues and make necessary changes to the policy, Duhon said. Another review will follow in May.
“If it’s not working, we can abandon it. If it is working, we may need to tweak it a bit,” she said. “We are anxious to see if it will work. We know we will face obstacles, but we will face those on a case-by-case basis.”
Participating students and their parents must sign a device user agreement and adhere to policy rules.
Students must agree not to use the devices to place or receive calls or send or receive text or instant messages. Students will also not be allowed to use Face Time, send or receive email, or access social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
“We had students last year asking us if they could bring their e-readers to school, but we couldn’t allow them because it wasn’t in the policy,” Duhon said.
As part of the program, the school will implement a schoolwide silent sustained reading initiative. The program will require all students, administrators and teachers to read for 13 minutes at 8:45 a.m. every day.
“If we expect the students to read, we have to put it on their terms,” Duhon said.
Students will be able to read books of their choice and earn 16 points in six weeks as part of the accelerated reading program, Duhon said.
Students without electronic devices will be able to select books from classroom libraries.
“Hopefully, we can foster a love for reading and see literacy improve,” Duhon said.