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New Initiative Allows Students to Bring Laptops, Tablets to School

Manassas Park High students can bring their eReaders, iPads and other devices to schools to do their class assignments.

A new initiative at Manassas Park High School allows students to bring their own computing devices for classroom use.

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Initiative was implemented this month and so far, about 45 students have signed up to bring their iPads, eReaders, computerized notebooks and other devices to school, said Chris Konig, instructional technology specialist for Manassas Park City Schools.

Before starting BYOD, the school division did extensive research and reached out to administrators from other schools that had implemented similar programs, Konig said.

It was clear the programs worked well and were successful, he said.

The program is a major change for the city’s school division—it didn’t allow students to bring their devices to school because of the possibility of theft, misuse and other reasons, Konig said.

But over time, the thinking within the education community has changed as people have realized the importance of the use of technology in the schools, he said.

“The comfort level has changed; there was an ideology change among teachers,” he said.  

The schools would like to have more technology but with today’s budget constraints, that’s not possible, Konig added.

The purpose of the program isn’t to replace what the school supplies, but to supplement it, he said.

Administrators aren’t concerned about the BYOD students having an unfair advantage over those students who don’t bring their own equipment because the school will still supply laptops.

The students have the option to use whatever fits their comfort level, Konig said.

The parents who attended the BYOD informational meeting this month had nothing but positive comments about the program, he said.

Before joining the program, students must return their parental permission slips and bring in their devices so they can be connected to the school’s network, Konig said.

Devices can only be used when the student is under the direct supervision of a teacher, he said.

For more information call 703-361-9131 or email Konig at chris.konig@mpark.net.

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