Bring Your Own Device policy has fundamental flaws

September 29, 2023 — by Alan Cai
Photo by Bryan Zhao
Sophomore William Huang vigorously plays the game League of Legends during an important class.
A year after the novel policy was instituted, inefficiency plagues the school.

A labyrinth of wires criss-crosses the linoleum floor. Furious typing from noisy, clunky computers echoes across the room. Click clack! These noises aren’t echoes from a distant dystopian society; they are the reality for many classes at the school plagued by the distractions and inconveniences of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. 

The policy, which originated from a lack of district funds to keep funding cyber insurance for aging computers, often doesn’t work well in practice.

Many classes such as band and biology don’t require devices at all. As such, I frequently find myself using my laptop only twice or three times a week despite hauling it to every class daily.

Far too often are students compelled to lug cumbersome computers by foot or bike all the way from home only to return after the school day with the device untouched, in the meantime risking damage and loss to them.

Distractions in class

During the few classes that actually require students to regularly bring their own devices such as English, computers frequently act as a hindrance to productivity. 

Personal computers serve as the mechanism from which near-unrestricted digital access to social media, video games, television and other non-productive activities are easier to access than ever.

Furthering this problem, the district WiFi doesn’t really prevent access to dangerous or unproductive sites and are futile deterrents to electronic device abuse.

Under the guise of promoting education, the BYOD policy has served a trojan horse for non-educational related materials to spew into classrooms and corrupt an engaging education environment.

Prior to the policy’s institution, students were able to access centralized classroom functions such as printing and completing writing assessments from classroom laptops that stayed in specific rooms.

Students who are forced to bring their own device must constantly keep their laptops and tablets charged or face a trip to the library to borrow one. Students who forget or are unable to bring their device on an occasion in which it is required must similarly obtain a Chromebook.

The Bring Your Own Device initiative is here to stay, but it’s still a less-than-ideal solution to a complex problem.

Tags: device, policy
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