This year we are going to experience a BYOD environment in our school. I’m glad for many reasons, one being it’s more and more difficult to monitor a “no devices allowed” policy, as even younger and younger students are packing a device or two in their bags. By device, I mean mobile phone, tablet, iPod, mp3 player, laptop, and the like. Let’s face it. Today’s kids have them. So maybe we are finally going to leverage their use in an educational setting.
So how does that look in the library?
I can’t really say yet how it will impact us in the library, but we are certainly going to experience our way through it. Over the last few years we have made ourselves become more tolerant of seeing assorted devices. We have allowed their use without question, leaving it up to the teacher to manage the “how” or the “appropriateness.” Students move around more in the library, and I’ve seen devices left unheeded with books, bags, and other belongings. Yes, we’ve even seen our fair share of inappropriate use too.
School Handbook says…
Over the years there have been references to these devices not being allowed. Handbook verbiage has changed annually from “not allowed” to “not seen” to yep, last, absolutely no reference at all. There was even at one time a school I was aware of who put it in writing that students could not used power outlets in the building—as if that would be a deterrent. We have been cautioned to let students keep up with their own devices, as taking them up (example, during a test) brings liability.
Develop a BYOD Policy for your teaching context
At our back to school meeting, the new BYOD policy was discussed. I like its general nature. As educators we are to come up with a class policy too. Some are using color coded signs, such as green means “yes, use” and red means “no, put away.” Whatever the classroom policy, these will be determined by the teacher to compliment the plans for learning that day.
BYOD in the library
In our teaching context, the library, we’ve begun the conversation to find a solution for printing service for wireless devices. We also had to come up with a policy to share with students and teachers for using devices brought into our environment. In a nutshell, we are going to let the teachers who bring classes decide what works best for their students. But we have plenty of visitors outside of scheduled classes to contend with too. So essentially here is our policy:
- You may use your electronic device in the library.
- You may not take pictures or videos with your device or talk on your phone in the library.
- Keep in mind: When using ear buds/headphones, you should be the only person who can hear what you are listening to.
- When charging your device, you may only use the outlets with the “Okay to Charge Here” sign above them. Do not use the outlets around the book shelves. While charging, do not leave your device unattended; do not interrupt a class to charge your device.
I’m not fond of these as written, but with three faculty & staff managing the library, we had to have a consensus. As I reflect on them now, I am considering a suggested revamp of two.
- I’m not sure we should have a reference to phones and actually talking on them. Maybe instead we need to specify phone conversations and how they should take place outside the library.
- I’m thinking the photo snapping and video capturing stance needs to be adjusted to say something to the effect that it “is allowed within the context of a project or class assignment.”
I’m also thinking of adding disclaimers to the power outlets we identified with signs for recharging, adding that “scheduled” classes get preferential access to them. (Not really sure how to word it. We might need to buy and circulate a few power strips in house to offer to our scheduled classes too.)
I’m wide open for suggestions if you have already done this or have better ideas.