BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

  • All high school students are allowed to bring their own devices to school to use for educational purposes. Please click on the links below to review current board and technology policies. A list of frequently asked questions is also below.


Recommended Devices

  • In the Blue Springs School District, we are what you might call a “PC district”.  What this means is that the majority of our computers are PC’s running either Microsoft Windows 7 or Microsoft Windows 8.1 operating systems. 

    *Starting in the fall of 2015, we will be implementing Microsoft Office 365 for all students which includes One Drive cloud storage, email, and 5 free downloads of Microsoft Office 2013 to any PC or Mac.

    Based on the above information, here is our recommendation for student BYOD devices:


    PC’s: *You will have Microsoft Office available for free through your Office 365 account.

    Laptop – any make or model running Windows 7 or 8.1

    Tablet – any make or model running Windows 8.1 and can support a Bluetooth keyboard

    Ultrabook – any make or model with attachable keyboard running Windows 8.1


    Non - PC devices (not optimal but will work just fine):

    iPad – Will work fine with Bluetooth keyboard and mobile Office apps (free apps) loaded

    Mac Book – Need to have Office 2013 loaded (free available through your Office 365 account)

    Chromebooks – will work but you will only be able to use the basic online Office tools rather than the full version of Office 2013 since nothing can be downloaded to this device.

BSSD Bring Your Own Device FAQs

  • 1. Why "BYOD" versus requiring every student to have the same digital device?

    Our faculty members currently utilize many different types of technology tools, and for years students have been using a wide range of devices on the BSSD network. In many respects, this is an evolution of what has been happening for a few years. Finally, we know that technology evolves and changes at a rapid pace. Locking into a single model has the potential to lock the community into obsolescence.

    2. Are students required to bring in a personally owned device, or is this optional?

    Students are not required but are encouraged to bring in a personally owned device each day in the same way that they bring other learning support materials like textbooks, pencils, notebooks, etc.

    3. If a student already owns a device, do they need a new one?

    No, as long as the device is functioning properly and is able to connect to the Wi-Fi and browse the internet.

    4. Who is paying for the devices?

    The devices will be purchased and owned by students or student families.

    5. What are the minimum hardware system specifications for student devices?

    At this time the minimum specification is that the device be Wi-Fi enabled and have some type of internet browser.

    6. Are students expected to use the devices at both school and home?

    Yes. One of the goals of BYOD is ubiquitous and continuous access as a way to build information literacy. This means access to the learning tools on a device at home and school. Some homework assignments will require students to use a digital device, while other homework assignments will not.

    7. What about students who are unable to afford digital devices?

    The BSSD goal is to have enough available devices to provide access for those students who are not able to bring their own device.

    8. Are there any recommended and required accessories?

    An extended warranty is strongly recommended. We recommend theft and hazard insurance (warranties do not cover abuse, theft, or accidental damage). An external hard drive or access to a cloud storage service like SkyDrive, Google Drive, DropBox, etc. for backing up files is recommended (learning to perform regular backups and how to restore from a backup are very important skills). A protective case/sleeve is recommended. It is also a good idea to use a backpack that has an internal, padded sleeve for protecting the device. A headset or earbuds (for private listening) are recommended. It is recommended that users have an external keyboard.

    9. May students install software on their devices?

    Yes. If students have administrative rights to their devices they may install their own applications, provided that such applications do not violate the school's acceptable use policy. We always recommend running software downloads and updates at home as a way to prevent network congestion and slowdowns.

    10. What if a student’s device battery is out of power?

    Students are expected to come to school each day with their devices fully charged. If there is a need to connect a device to a charger during class, most classrooms will be equipped with power strips for students to use if their battery is running low, but a few classrooms and spaces on campus do not have available outlets and power strips for charging.

    11. What software do students need on their devices?

    Anti-virus is required for all computers running the Mac or Windows operating systems. Free versions of antivirus software are available for both Mac and PC. Using a web browser students may access a word processor, spreadsheets, and presentations free of charge via Microsoft Office 365. A web browser such as IE, Google Chrome or Firefox is required. It is good practice to have access to two or more browsers on a digital device.

    12. What type of security is running on BSSD’s network?

    While we won't divulge the full extent of our security efforts, we adhere to industry-standard wireless security practices and protocols, and keep up-to-date on all new developments and security threats.

    13. Can I plug my personal device into the school network using an Ethernet cable?

    No. Students that bring personal devices may only access the network through a wireless connection.

    14. What happens if a digital device is lost or stolen?

    Theft of devices is a legitimate concern. They are small, expensive, and easy to resell. We suggest that each family check to see if their homeowners or renters insurance will cover the theft of a digital device. It is also a good idea to investigate purchasing special insurance from a company such as Safeware or Student Insurance Partners. Some devices, such as the iPad, even have location-finding applications available for free. If a digital device is stolen, report it to the school immediately and file a report with your local law enforcement agency. Software is available to help law enforcement officials track the whereabouts of a digital device when it connects to the Internet. You are free to install such software at your own expense. *BSSD is not responsible for student devices if lost or stolen or even damaged.

    15. What should students do with digital devices when not in use?

    Digital devices should be stored in a locked locker when not being used. Students should never leave digital devices unattended in open view while on campus. A student may have a friend monitor a digital device while

    he/she steps away to use the restroom, but he/she should be sure to return immediately. All digital devices and accessories, including charging cables, need to be clearly labeled with a student’s first name, last name and year of graduation. This will make it easier for devices to be returned if lost. We encourage the use of stickers as a way to visually customize digital devices.

    16. What happens if a digital device breaks?

    We recommend that students purchase an extended warranty for their device at the time of purchase. The district will not provide any repair service for student's personal devices.

    17. Are students required to back up their devices?

    It is critical that students have a backup of computer data. For this reason, the Tech Department recommends that students purchase an external hard drive at the same time the device is acquired. We also encourage the use of cloud-based applications like SkyDrive, iCloud, Google Drive, DropBox and Carbonite as a way to back up data. Backing up files daily is ideal, but weekly is acceptable. Beyond that, you run the risk of significant data loss.

    18. Student backpacks are already too heavy! Adding a device will only make a bad situation worse!

    Correct! Most student backpacks are too heavy. But adding a device can actually help alleviate that problem. More and more textbooks are becoming available in electronic form. Depending on the individual teacher, students may choose to have a print copy of the textbook at home while bringing the e-copy of the textbook to school each day on a device. Students should ask their teacher if there is an electronic version of the textbook and if they have a set of texts in their classroom for you to use. Moreover, taking notes on a device can eliminate the need for heavy paper notebooks.

    19. Where may students use devices when not in class?

    Devices may be used anywhere on campus. Use of devices at any point during the school day is subject to our Student Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). Please reference the BSSD website for AUP details.

    20. What kind of professional development will faculty be provided to make sure that BSSD is taking full advantage of digital devices in the classroom and that they are used appropriately?
     
    Professional development for faculty is ongoing, BSSD will be preparing faculty with departmental in-services, conferences, on-site workshops during the summer, summer grants and more. BSSD is committed to providing a varied professional development program to support teachers in taking full advantage of what digital devices have to offer to empower teaching and learning.

    21. Will devices be used in every class?

    Whether or not a laptop device is used in class on any given day depends entirely upon your teacher's judgment about the best tools to use for instruction. Sometimes teachers lecture, while at other times they engage you in discussions, panels, or simulations, ask you to read silently or aloud, work in groups, or go on field trips. A digital device is a very powerful tool for engaging in scholarly work, but it is not the only tool that teachers use to deliver high-quality learning experiences here at BSSD.

    22. How will students be kept from engaging in inappropriate use of digital devices?

    We have high expectations for honorable behavior within our community. Our teachers are among the most engaging and gifted professional educators in the field. The workload for students is significant. Off-task behavior of any kind is often self-correcting. Acceptable Use Policy refers to use for academic purposes only, use will be regulated and monitored through filtering to prevent them from inappropriate use. Please refer to the Technology Acceptable Use Policy.

    23. Is it a student's right to bring their own device?

    No. Bringing your own device is a privilege, not a right. Violating the AUP or school board policies may result in the loss of the privilege to bring your own device.

    24. What will happen to existing devices that are available for students to use in common spaces like the library?

    These devices will become the "heavy lifting" computers that run programs that require large amounts of memory and processing speed that are not typically found on mobile devices.

    25. What about printing?

    Students may not print from their personally owned devices, but they may print from the library computers in the same way that they currently do so. If your teacher uses a cloud class management program such as Edmodo, you can submit your document to the teacher and they can then print it for you.

    26. Which is better? Mac or PC? Android or iOS? Chromebook OS?

    We do not advocate one operating system over another. All have their relative strengths and weaknesses.

    27. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of laptops, tablets and Chromebooks?

    Laptops (Windows and Macintosh Laptops)
    Pros:
    • Have been on the market for quite some time
    • Content creation (writing, creating multimedia, etc.)
    • Have a longer lifespan (3-4 years with good care)
    • Work well with older software programs, flash sites, Java sites, etc.
     
    Cons:
    • Tend to be larger, heavier and less portable
    • Battery life isn’t as good as tablets/chromebooks
    • Not as effective for extended reading
    • Require more maintenance
     
    Tablets (Surface, iPad, Google Nexus, etc.)
    Pros:
    • Lightweight and portable
    • Excellent for reading
    • Excellent battery life
    • Fast start up
     
    Cons:
    • Short lifespan. Will need to be replaced after 2-3 years.
    • Not as effective for content creation
    • Keyboard and other accessories add to total cost and bulk
    • May not run flash, Java and Windows/Mac applications
     
    Chromebooks
    Pros:
    • Lightweight and portable
    • Excellent battery life
    • Fast start up
    • Inexpensive
     
    Cons:
    • Shorter lifespan. Will need to be replaced after 2-3 years.
    • Integrated keyboard facilitates content creation
    • Not as effective for extended reading
    • Requires Internet connection for most applications to run (word processing and Gmail work without an Internet connection).