In today’s technology-driven world, the art of teaching and learning is evolving at a rapid pace. Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) is committed to being responsive to the needs of its students and to preparing them to be successful in a change-oriented and global society. Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, the district’s Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiative will be implemented in all high schools in Harford County in an effort to create a 21st century learning environment for students and teachers.
“It is essential that we prepare our students to be effective and productive global citizens,” said Superintendent of Schools Barbara P. Canavan. “Providing opportunities for our students and staff via curriculum, instruction and professional development ensures us that embracing the ever-changing world of technology will remain integral to our mission. Maryland College and Career Ready Standards will guide us on our journey and our perseverance will provide the fuel.”
This initiative – already in place at Edgewood High, Fallston Middle, North Harford Middle and Magnolia Middle schools – incorporates student-owned devices, in conjunction with existing HCPS devices, into instructional activities. Students who have parent/guardian permission will be able to utilize a personally-owned wireless electronic device to safely access the internet and district educational content through the district’s filtered network while on school campus. Student devices may include personal laptops, tablets, iPads, iPods, electronic readers, cell phones, and other devices.
Allowing students to use their own devices in classrooms affords additional opportunities for inquiry, collaboration and formative classroom assessments. In addition, it allows for students to choose the best tool for the learning task and experience a level of comfort with their own device while meeting the increased demand for digital tools in the classroom.
“Familiarity with their personal device and associating it as a learning tool beyond the social use is significant,” said Drew Moore, HCPS director of information and technology.
Students must comply with the HCPS’ Personal Communication Devices Policy when using a personal device for an instructional activity and will be disciplined accordingly for violations.
During the months of October and November, Havre de Grace High, Joppatowne High, North Harford High, Fallston High and C. Milton Wright High schools will join the list of BYOT schools. From December through February, Harford Technical High, Bel Air High, Aberdeen High and Patterson Mill High schools will become BYOT schools as well. Specific dates and details for each school will be communicated from the individual schools and through use of the school system’s automated phone system, Blackboard Connect 5.