BYOD continues to make 21st century technology flourish


Hailey Clapperton, a grade 12 student attending St. Mary Secondary School says, “As students when we leave school and go home we are always surrounded by technology and it’s now becoming something we are starting to incorporate into our classrooms because its something we use on a daily basis.” About 80 per cent of Durham District Catholic School Board (DDCSB) classrooms utilize some level of mobile interactive technology including laptops, MacBook’s, iPads, smartphones, and iPods. That’s why in 2013, the school board looked to support BYOD and needed a robust, wireless (WLAN) solution that offered good options to secondary schools to make this work. DCDSB chose a company from Aruba and is working with ‘Access2Networks’ from Toronto to deploy the Wi-Fi that most Durham Catholic students use today.


DDCSB serves over 22,000 students in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Uxbridge, Port Perry, and Beaverton. Including 200 faculty members, across approximately 50 schools and district offices. Bring your own device (BYOD) refers to technology models where students bring a personally owned device to school for the purpose of learning. Students are already technology leaders, BYOD looks to take the technology that students use in their daily lives and make it a normal part of their classroom experience. The school board believes that the initiative shines a light on three areas of development: digital citizenship, enhanced classroom experience and, increased productivity.


Today students and teachers can access web-based content, resources, experts, and collaboration tools that were simply out of reach without BYOD. Productivity in secondary schools continue to flourish with the increased availability of devices,

Michael Cain, Teaching and Learning Consultant for DCDSB says, “In the past, in order for students to use electronic devices, teachers would have to book labs, seminars, or equipment months in advance and would sometimes be unsuccessful… With BYOD, it opens up the door for collaboration and creativity as students have access to their own devices, which are usually up-to-date.”


Two years ago, DCDSB deployed 400 interactive video projectors equipped with Apple TV allowing teachers and staff remote access to content simply using an iPad. It seems we’ve come quite some way from some chalk and a board. Simply put, nothing is perfect and even technology can have its flaws; networks and devices can occasionally malfunction. If so, that’s when students and faculty can refer back to the classic pen and paper. Increased productivity is something that many workplaces are taking seriously, moving forward BYOD highlights how 21stcentury learning is starting to become effective at different institutional levels.


BYOD means students bring their own devices to school for educational purposes. In the classroom, students use devices responsibly and only with the permission and direction of a teacher or staff member. With increased devices, this results in an increased use of social media. Students are going to live and work in a world where people use their devices regularly. They need to learn to use this form of technology safely, effectively, ethically and most importantly responsibly and that’s why more emphasis is starting to be put on BYOD. Furthermore, DDCSB’s Code of Conduct and academic integrity continue to apply to BYOD whether students are accessing information from school or home. Digital citizenship is a major part of learning with technology and sheds light on how secondary students are the future leaders in 21st century learning and teaching.


Class experience has also developed a lot with the BYOD initiative. Koula Azinas, supply teacher for DCDSB says, “The BYOD plan has proven to be crucial for fill-in teachers such as myself, who may not have a background in math per se, but with the addition of web-based educational learning tools, etc., it has allowed me to still have a productive class regardless of the subject.” As mentioned above, many classrooms have integrated projectors with iPad capability to help integrate a new experience. As some DCDSB secondary schools continue to install wireless technology (Wi-Fi), teachers will begin to incorporate more digital resources into their lessons. These resources have changed the learning landscape. At a secondary level, things have changed drastically in terms of enhanced experience and students can use technology to access curriculum-based games/apps along with other learning initiatives like note-taking and video creation. BYOD has proven to be so effective for students learning experience that DDSB has decided to follow the footsteps of DCDSB.


Of course, technology alone will not improve learning – when combined with the right instruction from skilled staff, amazing things can happen. The increased use of technology in classrooms will power up students success today, and for the future. “Being so accustomed to technology will benefit me a lot heading into my career, employers are already looking for new employee’s who are tech driven and using it throughout my secondary and post-secondary studies will only help me further,” says Clapperton. Moving forward BYOD will continue to be involved in the learning of our youth starting at a primary level in the coming years. Not only are these students finding out the future of 21stcentury learning, but they are discovering how they will be able to adapt in a 21st century world.