BYOT–which stands for Bring Your Own Technology–is a natural response to need for progressive learning tools in the 21st century classroom.
There are a variety of factors that contribute here, including the rapid growth of technology, planned obsolescence on behalf of the technology manufacturers, the cost of technology, the ubiquity of technology in the lives of many learners, and, on a larger scale, the continued explosion of age of information itself.
But it’s not without its challenges. While BYOT (or its twin, BYOD) can’t provide all of the answers–and creates challenges of its own, if your school or district is looking into BYOT, we thought it might be helpful to create a vague, universal BYOT policy and supporting framework that you could then modify to meet your specific needs. And to take it a step further, we wrote it in student-friendly language, because, after all, that’s the primary audience, yes?
This is a crowdsourced policy created for any school or district to use to create their own policies. Since every school or district is different, there can be no one-size-fits-all policy that works for everyone, but there are some basic ways any BYOT policy can be expected to function: to inform students, families, and teachers, to protect schools and districts, and to guide related policy and curriculum development.
As such, you may have experience that you can bring to the policy. If so, please see (and contribute to!) the crowdsourced version here.
1. Every policy should be different. In that way, the categories and language that appear are simply placeholders for you to “C.R.E.A.M”: Combine, Remove, Exchange, Add, or Move to revise and create what works for you.
2. Also, we tried to use student-friendly language where it made sense, which is generally written for students in grade 6-12. Elementary school students may need some changes accordingly.
3. This is a working draft and policy template, not a copyrighted document. Please, copy and paste, share, pin, and otherwise link to however it helps you and the educators you work with. Also note that it will be updated as necessary, so you may want to bookmark the page to return to periodically as it takes shape.
TeachThought BYOT School Policy Template
Purpose: To clearly and succinctly document our school or district’s policy for BYOT devices on-campus.
Audience: All students, school staff, parents, and visiting professionals that access school Wi-Fi networks, and/or use electronic devices to complete school work or self-directed learning or recreational activities while on-campus.
Definition: BYOT, an initialism for Bring Your Own Technology, refers to any student-owned electronic device used to complete assignments, projects, and other work in pursuit of mastery of a documented curriculum in a given content area.
What You Can Use: A device is prohibited if it is or otherwise potentially hazardous to the health of users, staff, or students, or to hardware and software owned by the school or students. This means Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Google Tablets, Windows Phones, BlackBerry’s and other smartphones (or dumb phones) and tablets are approved if they allow you to complete your work without burdening school resources, or the academic performance of your peers.
When in Doubt, Ask: Contact a school staff member right away and ask if you’re unsure about a resource, network, app, or any related device use. We want you to benefit academically from the use of your device without damaging your device, or getting yourself in trouble. When in doubt, ask.
Viruses & Malware: Device security is the responsibility of the owner. Any device that threatens that security of your device, or the software and hardware around you needs to be turned off and/or otherwise corrected.
Other Risks: Device theft, password security, damage from environment hazards and dropping, and interference from nearby devices are your responsibility to prevent, recognize, and/or correct.
Jurisdiction: This policy applies to on-Campus (on school property) and off-Campus in pursuit of completing school assignments and/or documented curriculum in a given content area.
Digital Citizenship: One definition of digital citizenship is “the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on.” Keep this in mind every time you send a text, update a social media profile, share a selfie, or recommend a resource to a friend, at school or at home. Your digital actions and behavior are not only permanent, but deeply impact those around you, even if it’s not always immediately apparent how. You matter!
Training: Training is not provided for use of individual devices, apps, or platforms. One of the goals of BYOT is for you to use a device that you’re comfortable with and accustomed to using under a variety of circumstances. If you can’t use the device, app, or website, try another. Ask your friends. Ask your family. Ask your teachers. There are a lot of great resources out there.
Bad Decisions: Any device use outside of the documented curriculum goals of a given classroom is prohibited, and in some cases punishable by law. Disrespectful communication, cyberbullying, spamming, sexting, copyright infringement, trolling (yes, trolling is bad) circumventing district filters or related device monitoring, and other abuses of technology will be documented, possibly leading to the loss of BYOT privileges, and enforcement by relevant law enforcement agencies.
1. You have the right to not use your own device.
2. You have the right to a safe and intellectually learning environment.
3. You have the right to understand policies, rules, and other “school stuff” that is either vague or unclear.
4. You have a choice to follow the above guidelines, or to not follow the above guidelines. You have the choice to make good decisions, or not, to find “holes” in our policy or not, and to demonstrate digital citizenship or not. Integrity is what you do when no one’s looking, and showing the integrity you have inside of you is also your choice. When you struggle making good decisions, we will respond in support of you, your peers, and the overall integrity of the learning in this school and district. In that way, you have a right to curriculum and instruction, but not to use your own devices to fulfill the obligations of that curriculum and instruction.
The learning is a right, but due to the extraordinary potential of a connected device, technology is not.
Contact: Enter appropriate school and district contacts for curricular, technical, and/or legal support.
Staff Training: Staff will receive training to help them educate students and families on the purpose, logistics, and enforcement of this BYOD policy.
Supporting Documents: School AUPs, Student Code of Conduct, curriculum, and other relevant legal documents (e.g., CSIP documents) will be updated to reflect our BYOT approach.
Publication of Policy: This policy will be posted publicly at the school, shared on school and district websites, distributed via social media, and be supplied on request.
The Short Version (based on policy at hipponation.org)
BYOD Policy: Availability of Access
Access to the District’s wireless network, including the Internet, shall be made available to students, employees primarily for instructional and administrative purposes and in accordance with administrative regulations. Limited personal use of the system shall be permitted if the use:
- Imposes no tangible cost to the District;
- Does not unduly burden the District’s computer or network resources;
- Has no adverse effect on an employee’s job performance or on a student’s academic performance
Access to the District’s electronic communications system is a privilege, not a right. All users shall be required to acknowledge receipt and understanding of all administrative regulations governing use of the system and shall agree in writing to comply with such regulations and guidelines. Noncompliance with applicable regulations may result in suspension or termination of privileges and other disciplinary action consistent with District policies.
Violations of law may result in criminal prosecution as well as disciplinary action by the District.
A Student-Centered Universal BYOT Policy Template For Schools