Bring Your Own Device? Or Bring Your Own Distraction?

Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory is known for its innovative programs that make students’ lives easier. As we live in a world where technology dominates most of our daily activities, SHC started the “Bring Your Own Device” program. This BYOD program mandates all students to have and to bring a usable, approved device to school to be used in class and at home. The BYOD program at SHC keeps students updated with the changing, technological world.

During class, students are encouraged, depending on the teacher they have, to take out their device and use it. SHC faculty members greatly support the BYOD program as most of them incorporate technology into their academic curriculum. Mr. Barnes, a teacher from the English Department says, “As a teacher, I’ve had to make adjustments, many of which are discovering when devices are handy and when they are not, and I think learning those adjustments will continue to serve me as an educator for years to come. However, with the distractions that come with BYOD also come possibilities: students can collaborate, students can blog, students can research and students can even take tests and quizzes.” Using a computer in the classroom helps students get their work completed more efficiently. For example, digital presentations can be assigned as class work, rather than homework. On top of that, there are many other benefits that the BYOD program brings. As companies now make textbooks available, students can keep their backpacks light, no longer carrying around a heavy bundle of textbooks.

This BYOD program gives easy access to a number of websites, such as Schoology, Gmail, and Google Drive, that SHC uses to keep students organized and updated on upcoming assignments and activities. “I like that we can have laptops because it is convenient for homework assignments. It’s a very useful program because after spending three years without the [BYOD] program, I got a lot done faster,” says Lowell Li ’14. The “Bring Your Own Device” program seems like a promising addition to the curriculum, but could it also stand for “Bring Your Own Distraction?” Many students seem intrigued in class when they’re on their devices, but are they really doing the work they are assigned? Teachers expect and trust us students to pay attention in class every minute, but we are still teenagers, who would much rather click on Twitter updates or the game 2048 than actually listen to lectures on Shakespeare.

The distraction students have during class as they’re mesmerized by their computer screens makes them indifferent to what their teacher is talking about. But, the reason why SHC started this program is to evoke enthusiasm in student studies. With the device handy wherever you go, it’s much easier to look stuff up, instead of going to the sixth floor for research. BYOD has many benefits, and because the program is at it’s first year, it’s bound to improve and become a greater success. So how do you, either as an SHC faculty member or student, perceive BYOD?  Bring Your Own Device or Bring Your Own Distraction?