BYOD program to form creators, not consumers

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By Sam Robinson

Administrators at Zionsville Community Schools want every child from the fifth grade to graduation to have a computer in the classroom, and they’re letting students and parents decide what’s best to buy.

Zionsville Community Schools thinks that choice makes a world of difference.

The school system launched a program to put computers in the hands of every middle school student during the 2008-2009 school year. Daniel Layton, the technology officer for the school system, said that the program was a huge success, and it led to the implementation of the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ program in the 2012-2013 school year.

“We’re trying to get technology into our students’ hands,” Layton said.

Students from fifth grade onward have to buy or rent a computer. There are only a few requirements. The computer has to run Windows or Mac OSX, have at least one USB port, and have a screen at least 7-inches wide. Zionsville Community Schools advises students not to use Linux operating systems, and it says cell phones don’t count as devices.

Those are the only requirements because the school system wants students to have as much choice as possible.

“And choice is always a good thing,” Layton said. “And if students aren’t ready to go out and buy one, they can rent.”

Layton said that choice alone can get a student passionate about technology. Students have the flexibility in choosing what computer they want, and incorporating technology in the classroom can create technology literate graduates.

“It opens everything,” Layton said. “It opens the world up through these devices. We’re looking to create a generation of creators rather than consumers.”

Students that would rather rent a computer may do so for $146.59. Zionsville Community Schools offers resources on their website to help parents and students find the best deals.

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