Bring Your Own Technology

This year, CMS is rolling out the Bring Your Own Technology initiative to all schools. I would strongly encourage all parents, if this is possible, to allow their children to bring a laptop, tablet, or cell phone to school since I do a lot of online activities. If you are unable to participate, I will make every effort to have something for all students so that no one is left out. While I do plan on utilizing this, I do not intend to have students online all day long.

If you wish to participate, this is what your device will need to have: wifi connectivity and an internet browser that is more recent. I recommend Google Chrome, which is free and also has a lot of add-on features. Firefox is also a good one to have. Of course, if you have an Apple device, then Safari is fine.

Please note: students' devices may have 3G or 4G mobile broadband but they are to only use the school's wifi. That way, I know that going to inappropriate websites will be stopped by the web filtering software.

If you are looking at purchasing something for your child but don't want to spend a lot, the following options are recommended.

1) Android tablet

Many are available for under $100 and work fine. All of them have wifi. The one I have is from Walmart and it is the Nextbook 7" tablet. I have successfully accessed the school's wifi system multiple times without any issues. It also has a more recent version of the Android operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0).

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Nextbook-7-Tablet-with-Google-Play/22127002

I purchased a cover and keyboard for the tablet for $11.00 (as of this writing) on Amazon.com. It works pretty well for something that inexpensive.

While there is no regular usb port, it does have a micro sd card port.

http://www.amazon.com/DIAOTEC-Synthetic-Keyboard-micro-USB-Computers/dp/B006KS85EE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1371500452&sr=8-2&keywords=7%22+tablet+keyboard+micro+usb

2) Google Chromebooks

These neat laptops range in cost from $199 to $1299. Of course, I would recommend the two lower priced models since that is all that is needed for the classroom ($199 or $250). They have usb ports to allow for flashdrives.

3) Smartphones

I did allow students to use them in my class last year and it was successful. The only drawback is the small screen size. This is the option that I recommend the least but it will serve its purpose. One option is to get an older smartphone that has wifi access but is not activated as a part of your cellphone account. It won't make calls but as long as it has wifi and can get online, it will work.

While I will make every effort to secure the technology, students will have to share in the responsibility of keeping it safe. The classroom will be locked whenever we are out of the room and I will dedicate one locking file cabinet as well for students to store their devices.