Bring-Your-Own-Technology (BYOT)

To facilitate 21st Century teaching and learning, Jackson Prep created our own brand of Bring Your Own Technology environment. All high school students are exptected to carry a device for learning. The real world is full of choices. People choose which phone to text on, what type of computer to use, what technology to buy. At Jackson Prep, families are given this option from the first day of high school. Students bring in a device, attach it to the school network and access a variety of tools to meet their needs. We do not lock our students to a single operating system, a single type of device or only one way to solve problems, but encourage students to identify the tools that best fit their learning needs.

the BYOT Program at Prep

BYOT (Bring your own technology) has existed at Prep for many years.  Below are some Frequently Asked Questions:

  •  What sort of technology is suitable?

We believe that students should use the device with which they are most comfortable and with which learning will be most effective. The device does however need to be able to access the internet wirelessly and have a day-long battery life. Our preference is a device with a screen of at least 10 inches (25cm). We understand that some younger students may choose a 7 inch screen. A laptop is more suitable. 

  • Does it need a certain type of wireless adapter?

Below are the requested minimum requirements:

  • a. Single Band 5GHz WiFi Cards – Preferred
  • b. Dual Band 2.4/5GHz WiFi Cards – These will require configuration prior to being on the network so we can steer the users and their computers to the 5GHz range.
  • Are smart-phones suitable?

The use of smart-phones for learning activities will not be permissible.  Small devices have limitations that make them unsuitable for some activities including accessing electronic textbooks. In addition, the temptation to be distracted from learning activities will be greater with a smartphone. 

  • What about the physical safety of the devices at the Prep?

As with other equipment, individual students retain responsibility for their own property at school. Common sense would suggest that students would do well to ensure that devices have protective cases or coverings. Parents are advised to make their own arrangements regarding insurance and cover for accidental damage. Jackson Prep will not take responsibility for accidental damage to student property, nor do our insurance policies cover it. 

  • How can I protect my child’s device against theft?

It would be sensible to ensure that your child’s property is labeled with their name through engraving or other indelible marking where it does not impact the warranty. Advantage should be taken of the capacity of certain devices to locate them when they are missing. Apple devices have a built-in service called “Find my iPhone/iPad/iPod” that can help locate the device on a map as long as the service is enabled before the device is lost). Laptops can also be located when missing. 

  • Wouldn’t this make my child’s schoolbag heavier?

We are conscious of this issue, particularly for our younger students. It would be wise to consider weight and size when choosing a device with your child; netbooks and ultra-books are significantly lighter than full-sized laptops. The heaviest items students have to carry are textbooks and many of the textbooks are available online.

  • Will students be able to recharge their device during the day?

We are discouraging students from planning to recharge at school; power cords/chargers can be a hazard and they add extra weight to school bags. For this reason, battery life is a key consideration in choosing a device. Students will need to cultivate the habit of charging their device overnight.

  • Will the students’ use of the internet be monitored at school?

Student usage of the school’s network and internet connection is filtered to varying degrees. Younger students will be more heavily filtered. Parents need to be aware that if they provide their child with a device with direct internet access, the school is unable to filter, log and monitor the student’s usage.  Many students have cell phones with "HotSpot" functionality which may be used circumvent the filtering.

  • How do we know the students won’t just be playing games and using social networking sites in class?

Our filtering provides a first line of defense by blocking by protocol online games and social networking.  However, the reality is that the technology does provide the potential for distraction. The challenge of developing self-control in avoiding these distractions is not limited to students; in fact, one could make a case that this is a vital skill for the 21st century workplace. School and home both have a role to play in helping young people to self-regulate in these areas. Plainly, this will be minimized through teachers’ expectation that devices be closed on the student’s desk unless being used as a part of the learning process.

  • What policies and structures will guide the students’ use of Technology?

The BYOT Initiative is governed by the Jackson Prep Student Guidelines including, but not limited to the Jackson Prep Acceptable Use Agreement. Discipline issues are planned for, but not expected. They will be handled by the Head of Junior High, or her designee. Consequences for inappropriate use will align with consequences for inappropriate use of cell phones. Since Jackson Prep students behave in an exemplary manner, the school expects the highest level of integrity along with respectful and ethical use of technology. In conjunction with school policy, teachers will have guidelines for use of technology in their individual classrooms.

  • How will my child manage to organize their electronic files and documents?  What about storage of work?

Electronic organization is a necessary life skill, so it is better they learn this skill while they are young. Student storage of files has been shifted to the cloud rather than on the School’s file servers. Jackson Prep is a Google Apps for Education School.   All students have access to their Jackson Prep email account that is hosted by Google and this account includes access to Google Drive which allows users to work on and store documents online and offline, and enables sharing of documents between students and staff.   Google Drive is the cloud storage of choice.  This will give the advantage of being accessible from home. 

  • Why doesn’t the school provide a device for its students?

If the School were to provide computers, parents would ultimately be paying for them through increased fees. In addition, there would be significant inefficiencies and extra costs involved, which would also be reflected in fees. It makes more sense for families to purchase the device that best suits their circumstances, budgets and needs, and one that they are best able to support at home. We also consider it likely that students will exercise more care and responsibility in looking after their own property. 

  • Is there particular software that my child will need to have on his/her device?

Antivirus\AntiMalware software is necessary.  In addition, different teachers will make use of different programs, sites and resources for learning, but the vast majority of these will be web-based. Each device would need an internet browser, a PDF reader, word processing software, and some form of presentation software. OpenOffice is an open source, free productivity software program that can be downloaded from openoffice.org.  In addition, as a Google Apps for Educations School each student has the suite of Google products available via their jacksonprep.net email address.

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