The Aiken County School Board voted Nov. 12 to test a new program in one classroom at North Augusta High School.
The Bring Your Own Device pilot program will allow students to bring their own electronic devices to school to use for educational purposes.
“We know that as we move forward, hand-held devices – be it iPads, iPods, other tablets or laptops – all of those things are an integral part of everyday life and needs to be a part of the educational life too,” said King Laurence, the associate superintendent for instruction and accountability with Aiken County Public Schools.
For some time, the district has looked into one-to-one computing where each student has access to a device supplied by the district. “The natural next step is to look at students bringing their own devices,” he said.
The program will be tested in Chris Emerling’s English classes at North Augusta High. It will take a few weeks to get the program going, but it should be fully implemented in the classroom by the start of the second semester, said Laurence.
They plan to visit the classroom and talk with students, Emerling and Principal John Murphy to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
“Did it increase student engagement, increase communication? All of those things we’ll be looking at and asking about,” said Laurence.
The district will also take a look at its current policy and will be monitoring the program closely to ensure that students are using the devices properly, he added.
“We’re going to count on our students to be responsible,” he said.
There will also be devices available for students who do not have their own.
Based on the outcome at the end of the school year, it’s possible the program will be expanded to other classes and other schools.
“It’s an exciting time to be in education,” said Laurence. “It’s changing so fast that we have to think of better ways to meet the needs of our students. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”