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Report: Most Schools Delivering BYOD Programs, Training Teachers in Mobile Devices Usage

Implementation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs in school districts has exploded since last year, spreading from 22 percent to 56 percent. BYOD primarily shows up in high school grades (84 percent), followed by middle school grades (74 percent). But even the majority of Pre-K through third grade schools also offers users the opportunity to use their personal mobile devices in schools.

Strategies regarding mobility in districts encompass professional development for teachers on the use of mobile devices and apps for instruction (88 percent), the use of student-owned devices in the classroom (83 percent), and encouraging the use of mobile apps for instruction (81 percent). Two thirds of districts provide mobile apps for student use and have structures in place to physically protect district-owned devices.

These are some of the findings of the latest survey of digital activities by districts held each year by the Center for Digital Education (CDE) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

The "Digital School Districts Survey" also showcases districts that distinguish themselves as innovative digital schools. Highlighted districts tend to use technology for management, communication, continual improvement and for learning.

For example, at Prince William County Public Schools the school board meetings are televised and streamed live. Once the meetings are over, the community can listen to them as podcasts or on-demand webcasts. The Virginia district uses a Twitter account, @PWCSNews, to communicate with parents and students. A virtual high school has been expanded to deliver 22 courses to 9,000 students.

Sixth graders at Henry County Public Schools obtain their science books as e-texts. A new Parent Connect portal connects families and their children to the same applications and extends curriculum to all mobile devices.

New Jersey's Springfield Public Schools has created a virtually paperless environment with its adoption of 1-to-1 in classrooms. Participants use digital materials, e-lockers and e-portfolios.

"Schools and school districts are embracing technology and it is really exciting not only to see the innovative ways they implement technology, but how they are using technology effectively to teach and advance education," said Alan Cox, senior vice president for the center. "These education leaders serve as an inspiration to other school districts nationwide for their creative efforts to provide an outstanding education for today's students. Congratulations to this year's winners!"

For the sake of the survey, districts are divided by the size of their student populations. Prince William took the top spot for districts with 12,000 students or more. Other districts in that category that have been recognized include Colorado Springs School District 11 in second place and Virginia's Hampton City Schools in third place.

Henry County won for districts that have between 3,000 and 12,000 students. That category also included winners Monroe County Schools in Georgia in second place and Wisconsin's School District of Janesville in third place.

Among schools with 3,000 students or fewer, Springfield took first place, Hanson School District 30-1 in South Dakota came in second and Maine Regional School Unit 21 was third.

The entire list of 30 winners and additional survey findings are listed on the center's site. The survey was sponsored this year by Sprint.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.