Legal Issues and BYOD

By Sarah Motley Hill

Until recently, the back-to-school shopper’s biggest decisions were wide-ruled versus college-ruled loose-leaf paper and three-ring binder or spiral-bound notebook. However, today’s students are expected to be able to demonstrate their learning via technology as well as by using traditional methods of pen and paper.

For example, a fourth-grade English Language Arts Common Core standard provides that a student must be able to “use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing [and] demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.”

With the ever-increasing focus on technology in education and limited district resources to purchase technology, more and more backpacks contain personal electronic devices -- laptop computers, e-readers, tablets, and smart phones -- instead of paper and notebooks, as schools adopt “bring your own technology” (BYOT) or “bring your own devices” (BYOD) policies.

When a school board and district consider adopting a BYOT policy, they must discuss numerous academic and technological questions, such as: How will teachers integrate the devices into the classroom? What types of routers are needed? Once these questions are addressed, the board then should turn to several important legal and policy matters. This article will examine the legal and policy questions that a district should consider when adopting a BYOT policy.

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