The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 23, 2013

‘BYOD’: Digital devices are becoming a fact of life

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid Public Schools recently told students they could “BYOD.”

The four-letter acronym stands for “bring your own device.” At open houses across the district, students recently learned they didn’t have to leave their cellphones at home any more.

In an Enid News & Eagle article, Waller Middle School assistant principal Dawna Reynolds remarked that even low-income students are going to have devices.

“The parents will go put them on layaway and get them,” Reynolds said. “That’s how they’ll show love.”

Some patrons criticized the decision, ironically, through social media.

Cheryl Infield-Fowler posted the following comment at via Facebook:

“This will be a burden on ‘the poorest of poorest kids,’” she wrote. “Some parents can barely afford school supplies and new clothes for school. ‘Showing love’ by buying kids things the parents cannot afford is a shallow statement.”

Whether you agree with the parental prioritization or not, some kids don’t have school supplies but come to school with a phone.

For years, cellphones were frowned upon in schools. Students were required to leave them in their lockers.

Today, that viewpoint is evolving as these ubiquitous devices are becoming a fact of life in the digital age. Districts are embracing this reality through secure web-based social learning networks to engage students.

The goal isn’t to encourage Candy Crush or Facebook addictions; it’s to enhance learning.

Students aren’t required to have cellphones. Phone use is a privilege parents use to leverage good behavior.

Because cellphone usage is so widespread, EPS is wise to embrace technology instead of fighting against it. This gives schools more credibility in the eyes of students.