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Hoover High Launches 'Bring Your Own Devices' Program

Students are able to bring their Internet-accessing devices to school this year so they can use them in the classroom

Laptops, iPads, smartphones and other techy gadgets are going to become a lot more prevalent at this year as the school rolls out its Bring Your Own Devices program.

What started as is now implemented throughout the entire school, administrators announced at last week’s .

Hoover High Principal Tony Pallija, Assistant Principal Paul McIntyre and spoke before the board about the need for the BYOD program and benefits and challenges they anticipate this year.

Pallija said school administrators have worked for three years to research and implement BYOD, always keeping in mind the motto ”improving communication and instruction through technology.” The school held monthly meetings with its top technology teachers, too.

“We knew that the kids were getting it faster than we were, not just because of finances, but because of the training we were able to give to our staff,” Pallija said. “The kids were picking it up everywhere.”

And, because of surveys taken by students and parents, administrators and teachers knew students would have the technology to bring to school. In fact, Curts told us in May 2011 (when we first reported about the spring pilot program) a little more than 90 percent of high school students owned at least one piece of Internet-accessing technology they could bring to school. And about 94 percent of those students said they were willing to bring in their device.

Those numbers supported the ability to launch the BYOD program at Hoover High.

“We thought it was time to let the kids actually use some of their technology in the building — under our guidelines,” Pallija said. “Now this is a risk; I’ll call it a challenge. With almost 1,800 kids who have cellphones every day or computers or iPads, we thought it was time we got behind the kids, trained our teachers, gave them some structure and trust them to use technology properly in the building.”

McIntyre said Hoover High followed suit with the National Education Technology Plan of 2010. The plan, according to the U.S. Department of Education website, “calls for applying the advanced technologies used in our daily personal and professional lives to our entire education system to improve student learning, accelerate and scale up the adoption of effective practices, and use data and information for continuous improvement.”

McIntyre said the plan focuses on technology-based learning and assessment, and the overall goal is to improve student learning and generate data to improve education.

McIntyre said the BYOD program will not only change the way students learn in the classroom, but how teachers interact with students, too.

“We can change how we teach. Rather than the teacher being the center of instruction, we’re going to incorporate more cooperative learning so the students are working together to help themselves learn with each other rather than just from the teacher.”

This pilot program will last until the end of the school year, and administrators once again will assess the pros and cons of the Bring Your Own Devices program.

Curts said parents can check out the website byod.northcantonschools.org, where they'll find an FAQ session and links to related articles.

"We also really want it to be a resource for our staff," he said. "We really want to be able to give them more and more ideas of how they can use this new technology in class."

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