Why We Shouldn’t Worry about Theft and Digital Equity

The successful implementation of educational technology initiatives not only requires adaptive and supportive teachers, but also administrators and parents who recognize the potential benefits of this tool in the classroom.

Successful implementation of educational technology initiatives requires the school administration’s support. Administrators raise valuable concerns about the use of personal learning devices in the classroom. In fact, 50% of K-12 principals are hesitant to implement a “Bring Your Own Device” program because of potential theft. However, this has never been a concern of my my younger sister Rebekah, a rising high school sophomore, who has participated in BYOD since elementary school. While she has “heard about people’s devices being stolen,” she does not know “of any devices in [her] school being stolen.” Rebekah said, “I never worry about my device being stolen.”

Aside from theft, digital equity considerations are another major concern, with 43% of principals admitting that personalized learning devices could present an unfair advantage for some students. How do we overcome this valid challenge in the classroom? How can our classrooms accommodate students who do not have access to learning devices? Blackboard, an education technology company devoted to personalized digital learning opportunities for all students, proposes student age and community demographics do not “appear to play a significant role” in parent’s decision to purchase devices for their children. Rebekah noted that while some students at her school do not have personal learning devices, teachers and administrators are accommodating and provide laptops to students who need them.

Of course, this is one source and one example from one person in one school in one city. More research and case studies are necessary to determine the validity of these statements.

Furthermore, parental support of personal learning devices is on the rise, specifically because of the diverse benefits parents associate with technology use in the classroom. Specifically, parents are supporters of educational technology resources because students have greater access to online textbooks and students are more engaged. Additionally, parents also see the potential for devices to facilitate a more personalized learning experience for their child.

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Although the support of personalized learning devices varies among groups, there are solutions to concerns administrators raise. With a well-developed educational technology implementation plan, schools can overcome potential challenges relating to theft and digital equity. Parents also play an important role because they can lobby administrators and school boards to allow or enhance educational technology programs.

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