BYOD at Mid Pen (bring your own device)

PERKINS – In an effort to further integrate technology into the classroom at an affordable price, Mid Peninsula School will allow students to use their own Internet devices as part of the everyday curriculum.

“We’ve entered into a one-year contract to have the BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – in our K-12 classes,” said Superintendent Mary Brayak. “This is very exciting for our district.”

The bring-your-own-technology initiative is a recommendation in the U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 National Education Technology Plan to help cut costs and increase student engagement in technology.

Brayak said the BYOD program is the next best thing to the One-to-One Initiative where schools purchase individual Internet devices for students like Bark River-Harris School has done.

At Mid Peninsula, the board agreed last week to purchase components to upgrade the firewall through the district’s server, DSTech of Escanaba. This will allow students to use their own devices to access the Internet except for unwanted sites blocked by the firewall, explained Brayak.

Many of the district’s students have iPods, iPads and iPhones and other Internet devices they are familiar with and can now use in the classroom, said the superintendent. Though not all kids have the technology, those who do can share with their classmates, she added.

“This is another way to engage the students in the learning process,” Brayak said, explaining how students can use the Internet in conjunction with their classwork and can also save information on their devices to take home.

Students will also be able to communicate with each other on assignments through the Internet, she said, adding the new program will require some trust among the kids when it comes to homework.

“This will bring a level of trust,” Brayak said, adding, “Technology is not going away.”

The district’s new system will be demonstrated for parents and students at the school’s K-12 open house, which begins at 6 p.m. Thursday. Community members are also encouraged to attend, she said.

Brayak also announced the district has a new booster system which enhances cell phone reception on school property. The system was funded through a grant from the Community Foundation for Delta County’s Youth Advisory Committee.