On Tuesday, July 31, a Parent Forum for BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) was hosted at the Board Office at 6:00 p.m. to deliver information about the new BYOT initiative. Superintended Copeland commended parents for taking time to come out and attend. Principals, School Technology Team Members, and the Technology Team from the District were also on hand to assist with the forum. Mrs. Copeland reminded parents there was a vision from the district office to begin this project in order to promote 21st Century Learning in our classrooms.
“Technology is very common to our students, it is a major part of their world, and our vision was to bring this technology into their educational world for learning”, stated Copeland. “Funding would have been a huge issue, but thankfully the community and parents passed eSPLOST IV back in March, which will now make this implementation possible”.
“Policies at the district level have already been changed and are in place to approve students bringing their “devices” to school for educational purposes. These policies and other important information concerning BYOT is located on our system website at www.appling.k12.ga.us.”
One of the main goals of BYOT according to the superintendent is to increase student engagement in learning, which will in turn increase student achievement for the school district. Technology increases student opportunities to not only engage, but also to problem solve and become critical thinkers. The superintendent shared with the parents about their visit to Forsyth County who has been implementing BYOT for about two years. The administrators from this district reported discipline had decreased greatly due to the fact the students were now permitted to “have” their devices and they were no longer spending time dealing with punishment for bringing devices to school. They were more engaged in the learning process with their technology in the classrooms. Another school district in Texas had reported the same finding with BYOT.
Mrs. Copeland reported that Appling County Schools will be one of the few schools in Southeast Georgia that will be implementing BYOT and this will place us on the cutting edge of technology in our classrooms. The team at the county office emphasized this was an exciting opportunity for our students and we would be walking through this journey together. A video entitled, A Brave New World Wide Web was then shown to the parents which stressed the importance of not being confined to four walls in a classroom for learning and how going beyond these walls increases our students learning abilities.
Dr. Dominy then led parents through examples of how the schools would be implementing some of the technology in their classrooms. One example the audience was asked to participate in was m.socrative.com which allowed parents to response to questions by using their own devices. In the classroom, teachers will receive instant feedback by using this technology to help them understand if students are learning the material. Pam Williams was also on hand to demonstrate Edmodo for students in the classroom.
At this point, parents were encouraged to ask questions concerning BYOT and Principals, Technology Team Members, and District Office Personnel responded to these questions. This was a great opportunity to network with our parents and our community concerning this new initiative. One parent stated that she had come to the parent forum with fears and apprehension, but she was leaving excited about what Appling County School District was doing with BYOT. Several positive comments were made by other parents who attended the meeting as well. Again, parents were commended for attending this session.