Mobile Computing | News

Delaware High School Launches Mandatory BYOD Initiative

Delaware's St. Elizabeth High School has launched a mandatory bring-your-own-device policy for the 2013-2014 school year in an effort to expand the use of technology.

The private Catholic preparatory school this fall began requiring students to bring their own iPads to class in an effort to make "its rigorous curriculum even more interactive, engaging, and personal," according to a news release.

The school has already replaced more than 95 percent of its textbooks with electronic versions and will be pushing out Dropbox, Google Drive, iMovie, Keynote, Notability, Pages, and more than 100 other apps for specific courses through its mobile device management system.

Students can buy the devices through third-party vendors or purchase one through the school for $600, which was approximately what freshman at the school spent last year on textbooks. With the switch to digital, the book bill for students in all grades this year is about $90, leading to an estimated savings for parents of approximately $500 each year after the first.

To support 350 students simultaneously using iPads, the school partnered with Comcast to upgrade its T1 lines to a 50 Megabit-per-second Ethernet Dedicated Internet connection. "Grades Pre-K through 8, which share the same building as the high school, are also using this bandwidth for their Internet access, and PRI Trunks have been implemented to ensure the school has reliable, high-quality voice service," according to a news release. "Additional plans to expand the BYOD program and ultimately move all textbooks to the cloud are underway."

"At the end of the day, our mission as educators is to fully arm our graduates for the future — both academically and technologically — and to ensure they have a strong familiarity with modern devices like the iPad and online services like video conferencing or Google Drive, which provides them with the foundation they need to begin that journey," said Shirley Bounds, principal of St. Elizabeth High School, in a prepared statement. "We knew that making the vision of our iPad program a reality would require finding a cost-effective way to upgrade our network. So when Comcast was able to provide us with significantly more bandwidth at a lower overall cost, we took a giant stride closer to achieving our goal of creating an all-digital educational environment for our students, teachers and administrators."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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