The Alliance for Excellent Education
Presents a Project 24 Webinar
The Device Debate in Digital Learning
Patrick Larkin, Assistant Superintendent for Learning, Burlington Public Schools (MA)
Bailey Mitchell, Chief Technology and Information Officer, Forsyth County School District (GA)
Jean Tower, Director of Technology, Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough (MA)
Sara Hall, Director of Digital Learning Policy, Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance held a Project 24 webinar dedicated to one of the great debates in digital learning today: What factors should school districts consider when evaluating decisions about bring-your-own-device/technology (also known as BYOD) or district-purchased devices?
Overwhelmingly, educators who have seen powerful results from effective use of technology say that digital learning is not about the device; rather, it is about teaching and learning. That said, districts must at some point determine which strategy best suits the instructional needs of their learners. Proponents of BYOD point to its cost-effectiveness and the way it allows students to exercise choice over their preferred device. They also point to the fact that BYOD keeps the focus on the teaching and learning, not the device. But detractors raise the issue of students who cannot afford their own devices, and they point to districts that have successfully adopted devices in a systemic manner.
Members of the Project 24 panel of experts shared their perspectives, keeping teaching, learning, curriculum, and instruction at the forefront. Patrick Larkin offered merits for both options and considerations districts should bear in mind when making strategic decisions. Maribeth Luftglass shared her lessons learned from implementing BYOD as well as systemic purchases, and Jean Tower presented arguments in favor of BYOD and issues districts should consider. Sara Hall, director of the Alliance’s digital learning efforts, moderated the discussion.