Is BYOD Good or Bad for NDA?

Claire Edgar, Staff Writer, Journalism I

The 2016-2017 school year has been the first in which Notre Dame Academy employed a mandatory Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, which has been received with mixed views.

The main problem is that students often misuse the policy to distract themselves or cheat and end up reducing their academic performance.

Mrs. Carolyn Brown, a teacher at NDA, said, “As a teacher I feel responsible. Your parents are paying money for you to go here and learn.”  

This comment came in reply to a student who said students should be at liberty to do their work or not do their work and simply take the consequence of failure if using a device to play games rather than do school work.

While the BYOD policy has many helpful uses, parents and teachers worry whether or not it hinders learning.

Although students can rarely cheat on tests with their devices, they can often share homework answers through their devices.

Also, devices such as computers and tablets offer readily accessible distractions. Teachers recently found out about a problem with students watching movies in class, so NDA had to block Netflix although teachers used it to teach. The same thing happened with games that students were playing on their devices.

Many students don’t have the self-control or work ethic to resist those distractions. Does the presence of devices encourage self-control or reduce it?

On the other hand, internet-based tools do, however, have some very helpful applications in schools. There are many ways to promote and require responsible technology use without becoming overly controlling.

Mr. Doug Guyette, one of the math teachers at NDA, practically employs technology in the classroom by educating students on programs such as Desmos that can heighten their level of learning.

Technology may just provide too many opportunities for academic collapse at NDA. Each student has a part to play in upholding NDA’s legacy, so NDA administration needs to fully educate itself on the positive and negative effects of device use in school and reach a majority opinion on whether or not the BYOD policy is necessary.  

It seems as though NDA has created the BYOD policy because most other schools have similar policies. If NDA prides itself on standing out from the rest, it should not require devices at school just because they have become the norm but because they truly benefit its students.

Thoughtful and educated decisions are the primary steps towards solving any form of BYOD crisis.