BYOD Enjoying Successful Start, Affecting Learning at NDA

Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Contrary to previous years, it’s more than common to step foot in a Notre Dame Academy classroom and be greeted with rows of faces glowing from the screens of their laptops and iPads. The implementation of the Bring Your own Device (BYOD) program has changed many aspects of learning at the Academy.

“It was a long process,” acknowledged Technology Director Gina Fredrick.  “We have been researching 1:1 or BYOD for over nine years, and we are so happy to put it into effect.”

Those nine years were spent paving the way for the BYOD program to be as successful as possible.

“This entailed several committees forming, conferences attended, schools visited and connections made with other schools for advice,” Mrs. Fredrick explained.

Other schools with similar programs, such as St. Catherine’s in Racine and St. Francis Xavier in Appleton, were visited to witness the program in action.

“We knew we wanted to enhance technology at NDA and advance student productivity and collaboration,” she said. “First we researched a 1:1 environment where we would have one standard device that everyone needed to purchase, but we thought that was too much of an expense to put on our families.”

Thus BYOD was born. “We knew families might have a device at home already. We felt a BYOD system would be best for our families and for our school.”

There were some concerns that came with the idea. “You can never be too prepared for how the wireless will react when so many devices ‘walk’ into the building,” the director said.

Thus Mrs. Fredrick made changes to allow for this. “We increased our connectivity 10-fold,” she said,  “but technology doesn’t always work, so the uncertainty of technology is always a concern.”

Nonetheless, the results appear to be successful.

“This program has been more successful than I anticipated,” said Mrs. Fredrick.  “I feel our teachers have embraced the idea of BYOD and are working on utilizing it.  Change is always difficult but they are doing a great job.”

Teachers have been utilizing new language in the classrooms that Student Government members spent many meetings creating.

“We worked on the different ways to talk about the devices that could be used in all the classrooms,” said Student Government member Maya Abujamra. “It’s really cool to hear the teachers refer to the devices in ways that we came up with in a meeting.”

Abujamra feels teachers, students and parents are appreciating the new program. “It’s worked really well so far and has definitely changed the school for the better,” she said.