BYOT Initiative Coming to Woodgrove


Contrary to former classroom etiquette, students will be encouraged to use personal technology in school. Starting second semester, the Loudoun County Public Schools system is involving Woodgrove in its BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) initiative, which urges students to bring their devices to class.

BYOT is part of a larger Loudoun program known as One to the World. The county is implementing this initiative to foster a better learning environment. One to the World attempts to connect students on a global level to increase the impact of students’ efforts. BYOT intends to accomplish this mission at Woodgrove by improving each student’s ability to use technology in a practical sense.

“It’s great because students will have access to the technology they will use in college and later in life,” said Principal Shipp.

Mr. Shipp likes the idea of BYOT since it gives students and teachers more options for learning and teaching outlets.

Many students are welcoming BYOT with open arms. Sophomore Kyle Potter thinks highly of this new program.

“I always lose my notes,” said Potter. “With technology, I can organize everything, and it will always be there on my device.”

Trying to be more organized with technology seems to be a common theme among Woodgrove students. Senior Dylan Culfogienis also likes the idea of BYOT because of its organizational benefits.

“I currently use my Android phone in classes to take notes,” said Culfogienis. “I lose less stuff this way, and I’m much more organized.”

Woodgrove students will also be able to access the LCPS wifi during school so they can easily conduct research for their classes. There should be no issue with the wifi crashing because the bandwidth is being greatly increased to provide for better internet access.

“BYOT will be a positive initiative because it will make it easier to learn,” senior James Vasile said. “I’m just waiting for the wifi to open up so I can use the internet.”

The timing of the BYOT program may seem strange since it won’t start until the second semester of the 2015-2016 school year, but there is a reason for this delayed initiation.

“Woodgrove students are required to become good digital citizens before we run this program,” said Mr. Shipp. “We are working on this through FACEtime.”

For the past several weeks, FACEtime groups have met to discuss how to be a good digital citizen. This teaching process will be concluded by second semester so that BYOT can begin.

Having personal technology in school should immediately help students that are in classes that involve heavy note-taking, such as the social sciences and english. Students can easily type notes or essays and save them to their devices without worrying about handwritten notes that could get lost.

In classes like math; however, it could be more difficult to benefit from BYOT since there is little note-taking involved. Math enthusiast and teacher Mr. Glover has thought of ways to make BYOT work well for his students.

“BYOT would help us utilize free graphing software like Desmos,” said Glover. “It can also help facilitate the use of VISION and other web-based educational sites.”

Mr. Glover knows how he will use BYOT in his class, but he (like many other teachers) worries about the ease with which students could become distracted by social media and email.

While the main purpose of BYOT is ultimately to help students learn, it will also teach them to become more responsible. Because BYOT will make the internet so accessible, students will be responsible for staying focused on their schoolwork instead. Teachers should not have to scorn their pupils for gaming or watching videos during class.

Staff and students are not expected to make immediate or drastic changes. Over the next few years, however, the Woodgrove community will acclimate itself to this new technology-based system.