Excelsior School and the Eureka Union School District are excited to announce the adoption of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program starting in the 2017-2018 school year. This means that families will be able to choose a device to bring to school from a list of recommended devices that meet minimum specifications. We chose this program for several reasons:
The prevalence of web-based tools and non-device specific programs
The desire for students to be able to produce original work
The ability for students to customize their learning experience
The budgetary realities of each family and the school district
The freedom for students to choose a device that fits their comfort level and interests
So, how does this work? Families are able to purchase a device that meets clearly defined functional requirements. The information below will describe these requirements and offer examples of approved devices to help families make informed decisions. Please consider the following steps before purchasing a device for your family:
Review the recommended devices and minimum requirements
Research the capabilities and prices of the specific device in which you are interested
Purchase the device that best meets your family’s needs.
While this program allows for choice and customization, student devices are required to meet several requirements. This is meant to help families narrow their search, not dictate specific devices. The list of minimum requirements is below.
For a limited time, the district is providing the opportunity for district families to purchase a Chromebook device that meets these requirements at the district pricing. More information can be found HERE.
If you have any questions about the BYOD program, please take a moment to review the Frequently Asked Questions below.
The Eureka Union School District has developed a list of minimum device requirements that are flexible enough to meet the needs of both the classroom and personal preference.
Operating System – a fully functional operating system: Windows 7/8/10, macOS and ChromeOS are recommended. iOS and Android can be made to work but these operating systems lack certain functionality.
Google Apps – ability to access Google Apps for Education through the web browser or apps. Google Apps for Education include Google Classroom, Google Drive, Google Email, and other similar apps. The school will provide a Google account to each student.
Wireless – ability to connect to a wireless network (WiFi) system using 802.11N or 802.11AC (802.11G is not recommended). No cellular data can be used for school purposes.
Screen Size - a minimum screen size of 7.” A 9″ or larger screen is recommended.
Storage – a minimum of 16 GB of local storage, either hard disk or solid state (if local storage is low the device should allow for alternate external storage via a USB or SD port).
Battery – a minimum battery life of five to six hours. If the device allows batteries to be swapped, students can bring multiple charged batteries to school to meet this standard.
Microphone/Headphones – allow for the use of a microphone and headphones, either through separate jacks for the microphone and headphone, a combined microphone/headphone jack, USB port, or Bluetooth connection.
Every student must have Internet access outside of school, either through WiFi or a physical connection, to complete homework assignments. This can be at home, in a relative’s home, or in a public place such as a library or coffeeshop. Families with financial difficulties should investigate if they’re eligible for the Internet Essentials program ($10/month Internet: http://www.internetessentials.com/)
Below is a list of recommended equipment that some students may find useful:
Keyboard – a physical keyboard is recommended, either built into the device or as a separate Bluetooth or USB keyboard.
Onboard Video/Camera – ability to take and save pictures and videos.
Case – a protective case or padded bag for their device.
Excelsior School will provide only basic user-level technology support as it relates to the use of the device for student work at school. Physical damage or complex issues will require the families to find options for support off campus. In the event of a damaged device, students will have access to a device to use at school. Families are strongly encouraged to consider an extended warranty, breakage policy, or a customer support program when purchasing a new device.
My child already has a device. Can they use the one they already own?
Any student who already has a device may still use that device. If the device is 3 years or older, then you should consider upgrading it to a new device as older devices may not meet the functionality requirements.
Can my child use their smartphone as their BYOD device?
NO, they may not use a smartphone as their primary device. The only devices allowed are WIFI only devices so that content may be filtered. Smartphones should be turned off and students may not use cellular data to access the internet while on campus.
How does this impact the textbooks my child will need?
Most curriculum programs in core subject areas are becoming digital. It is anticipated that in five years, almost all programs will require digital devices for access. We are aware that there are possible disadvantages to a 100% computer-assisted teaching and learning environment. We have always shared the belief that technology is a tool, among many, and to reach all students, we will continue to use the diverse tools available for instruction. To prevent eye strain, our teachers realize that on-screen time must be monitored and paced so that there is ample time for rest and movement.
What happens if my child's device is not working?
Excelsior faculty and staff may be able to help with basic issues but we will not be able to provide comprehensive technical support for these student/family-owned devices. The provider of the device will need to support the device, and we recommend investigating support packages when purchasing the device. In the event a student’s device needs to be repaired, Excelsior will continue to have devices available for students to use at school.
How can I support my child in the use of their device?
Your support is critical to ensure sure your child's behavior is appropriate in the digital world. This is a venue where young people can make poor decisions that may impact their lives and the lives of others in serious ways. We will continue to educate our students about internet safety and appropriate use of technology at school. As always, your support and supervision at home is very important.
Will Excelsior monitor the devices when they are on campus?
Excelsior will monitor devices to the same extent that we currently do. EUSD monitors activity on the network and the network does have regularly updated firewalls and web content filters. Although teachers also providing ongoing supervision, we believe students must to learn to take responsibility for managing the appropriate use of their own device in an educational setting.
Will students be able to charge their device on campus?
We are looking to expand the places on campus to charge the battery of a device. The spaces are limited, so we recommend that students charge their devices at home and come to school with a fully charged device. Please note: Battery life is an important factor that you should consider when choosing a device.
What device is my student expected to bring?
The key element to BYOD is choice. Students have a choice in selecting size (laptop or tablet); operating system (Mac, Windows); and production tools (Google Apps for Education is fully supported by EUSD). Below are questions to consider when choosing a device:
Which operating system is the student and family most comfortable with/currently using?
Is this the primary computing device for the student? Tablets often require a larger “home base” computer to sync and run back-ups.
Is the device WIFI enabled, can it access the web, and connect with their EUSD Google account?
Is the device one that is comfortable to type on or navigate with during a 7-hour school day?
Will Excelsior be offering devices for discounts or sale?
The Eureka Union School District and the Eureka Schools Foundation are thrilled to offer the opportunity for the parents of our students to purchase a Chromebook for school and home use at the district pricing. This offer is optional and available to any student in our district, however; only grades 4 - 8 will be allowed to bring their own device to school at this time.
We have partnered with CDWG, one of our district vendors, to offer competitive pricing for a HP Chromebook 11 G5 - Education Edition which is appropriate for the work students will be completing at school. This device has been specifically selected to be compatible with the current 4-8 grade curriculum. In addition, the Chromebook 11 G5 - Education Edition is designed for school use as it is a sturdier product and similar to what the district purchases for the classroom. Please visit http://www.eurekausd.org/Programs/BYOD/index.html for more information
What accessories do you recommend?
For all devices: Cover/case; headphones; a warranty; portable or additional battery for devices with poor battery life. For touch screen tablets: detachable keyboard or Bluetooth keyboard.
What about viruses?
No computer is immune to viruses or spam. As computers become more popular, they become more of a target for virus and spam creators. We recommend that all students protect themselves through virus protection programs or apps (available even for smartphones). The Eureka Union School District assists all users by providing additional protection “at the gates” of the network, but no single solution is foolproof and devices are certainly vulnerable off of the school network (such as home, coffee shops, or on a cellular network).
Do I need a warranty?
We STRONGLY recommend that devices have some form of warranty. While research shows that students statistically take much better care of a device that belongs to him/her than a school-provided device, accidents happen.
What about theft?
Part of the daily use of technology is the daily care of that technology. Students must take care in securing their devices appropriately. Do not leave devices/backpacks unattended.
Are students always on a device?
While some activities require the use of an electronic device, there are other times where students have a choice to use the device to write notes, set reminders on a calendar, or use the device that supplements the learning experience. These opportunities are determined by the teacher and may differ from classroom to classroom.
Who can I contact with questions about the BYOD program?
Please feel free to contact Heidi Williams, principal at Excelsior School with questions you may have about the BYOD program.