History of the District Technology Program at the Middle School Level
Since 1999, the Walled Lake Consolidated School District has offered an optional one-to-one laptop program, Anytime Anywhere Learning (AAL). The success of this program was due in large part to the support of parents and the Walled Lake community. Prior to the 2012-2013 school year, parents of students in the AAL program were required to provide a laptop with explicit specifications and configuration for school and home use.
With the rapid changes in technology and the availability of cloud-based services, we have adjusted our requirements in recent years. There are now more affordable options when purchasing a laptop or other device, making participation in the program more accessible.
With this increased flexibility, more and more middle school students bring technology to school for educational purposes. Since our goal is for all teachers to integrate authentic use of technology in classrooms, we expanded our program during the 2014-2015 school year, and it has grown each year thereafter.
Technology Use in All Schools
Technology has become part of our district's culture in all classrooms. Although Walled Lake Consolidated Schools provides Chromebooks and desktop computers in all four middle schools, an ever increasing number of students bring their own devices to school, allowing Walled Lake teachers to remain at the cutting edge of teaching curriculum through technology.
As we expected, the expansion of our BYOD program has been successful, and we will continue to offer it during the 2016-17 school year. A middle school student owning a technology device will be encouraged to bring it to school regularly for instructional and learning purposes. Enrollment in our Bring Your Own Device program will help our middle schools balance resources and offer equal opportunities for all of our students. The more students with personal devices, the better we can implement 21st Century, technology-rich lessons that support our curriculum.
Bring Your Own Device Benefits and Options
Today’s employers are looking for the most competent, creative, and innovative people to hire. Students need to develop creative problem solving skills and become intellectual risk takers to prepare for their futures. Having full-time access to a personal device as a learning tool gives students more opportunities to develop critical informational literacy skills, which can be applied to any learning situation.
Students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades will be allowed to bring any laptop that meets minimum requirements or any brand Chromebook. A tablet with keyboard is also acceptable, but we find that the mobile platforms of these devices limit the functionality in some learning activities.
Enrolling in the BYOD Program for 6th, 7th and 8th Grades
Parents who choose to enroll their children in the Bring Your Own Device program at all three grade levels will purchase/provide a laptop, Chromebook, or tablet with keyboard for their sons or daughters to use at school and home on a daily basis. Students who enroll in the program commit to bring (or continue to bring) a personal device for educational purposes. If parents choose this option, they agree to provide a laptop, Chromebook, or tablet with keyboard for their children to bring to school each day. There is no limit to the number of students who can enroll. Families register to participate in the program as part of the 2016-2017 Course Selection process. This will be a yearly enrollment decision.
Students may bring any brand Chromebook. They may also bring a PC laptop with Microsoft Windows 7, 8, or 10 operating system, and minimum 4 GB RAM of memory. Antivirus protection is the owner’s responsibility. You must purchase an antivirus program and run regular virus scans. We currently allow Apple laptops purchased within the last three years. Although iPads and other model tablets are convenient for most purposes, the mobile apps do not provide some of the features needed in class. We will allow these (with an external keyboard attached) to be used for our program, but want families to understand potential limitations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there anything I should do before bringing my computer to school?
Yes. We recommend you create a restore disk if directions are provided by your computer’s manufacturer upon purchase. This will back up the computer so you can restore it to “factory settings” if anything goes wrong in the future. You must also install anti-virus software if you purchase a laptop.
Should I get theft insurance for my child’s technology device?
Yes, we recommend it. Very few laptops have been stolen at school over the past 16 years, but we do encourage parents to obtain theft insurance; theft of personal technology devices is not covered by district insurance.
Should I get an extended service plan for my child’s technology device?
Yes, we recommend it. Accidents happen, computers crash, and viruses can cause havoc. Please consider adding a service plan when you purchase your child’s technology device, since your child will need a functional technology device at school each day.
Can my child use the same laptop that was used by an older sibling in previous years?
Yes, if it meets the minimum requirements.
Do we need to enroll in the Bring Your Own Device program every year?
Yes, for scheduling purposes we need a yearly commitment.
Are there rules and policies that my child and I should know about?
Yes, students must comply with the District Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) as outlined in the WLCSD Student Code of Conduct and the BYOD Policy.
What if I need more information or have questions?
If you have questions that are not answered by reviewing this website, please contact:
- Pam Shoemaker, Technology Instructional Coach. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone: 248-956-2027
- Amy Stasak, Middle School Computer Resource Teacher. Email: email@example.com