2012-09-11 / Front Page

‘Bring Your Own Device’ program enters second year at SWMHS

BY STELLA MORRISON
Staff Writer

SAYREVILLE — Sayreville War Memorial High School is joining a growing number of schools throughout the state in its second year of a new technology pilot program.

The “Bring Your Own Device” program incorporates a student’s Internet-compatible technology into the classroom as an additional research and student-collaboration aid. Sayreville incorporated the program into two of its classrooms at Sayreville War Memorial High School during the last academic year and will continue the program this upcoming year.

“I bring my technology to work with me — all the kids have technology — so I thought it would be a good idea if they could bring their own technology in,” said Helen Bruno-Raccuia, a Sayreville Board of Education member who serves on the Technology Committee. “With their own technology, they can take notes, do research, and participate in class.”

Pam Gunter, president-elect of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, explained that the “Bring Your Own Device” program will help answer in-classroom questions more quickly and easily. It will also give a teacher the opportunity to teach students how to identify and incorporate scholarly research from the Internet into their papers.

Bruno-Raccuia said that the program is looking to extend into other classrooms for the 2012-13 school year.

“Last year, just two teachers were using it, and this year, we are talking to other teachers to use it as well,” Bruno-Racciua said.

The “Bring Your Own Device” program is a far cry from school policies that do not allow cell phones or other technology whatsoever in school. However, Bruno-Raccuia believes their classroom use will be beneficial in prepping students for life post-high school, which will require the use of these technologies.

“I know that everywhere I go, I bring my technology,” Bruno-Raccuia said. “They will be using theirs in college and at their jobs, and we are required to prep our kids for college and for the workplace. We should be making its use second nature to them.”

Last year’s trial period allowed the program organizers to ensure that certain abuses, such as personal surfing or social networking, would not occur during class time.

“If they’re on school wireless, they can’t get on Facebook or Twitter, and a lot of websites are blocked,” Bruno-Raccuia said. “We’re teaching them when it’s appropriate to use these devices and for what. They won’t be reprimanded on the job. It’s our responsibility to teach them technology.”

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