Bringing Your Own Device to School

Does my child have to bring a device?  No, it is entirely optional. We currently have 400 district owned laptops at the Junior High, and over 500 for use at the high school,  by those who do not bring in their own laptop.

Who pays for the computers?  Computers will be purchased and owned by individual families.

Why would I buy a laptop if the district has laptops on carts for students to share?  This is a parental choice; an option that is offered to interested families. The program is a partnership with parents to provide greater access to technology for all students. Current educational research has demonstrated that the closer you get to 1:1 access to a laptop computer, the more likely you are to achieve the following results:
  • Students have more control over their learning.
  • Students are highly engaged, more motivated to learn.
  • Students are more productive.
  • Students improve their problem-solving skills.
  • Students improve their writing skills.
  • Students improve their ability to collaborate.

We already have a laptop. Do we need to buy a new one?  No. Just make sure it is in good working condition and has wireless Internet capabilities. Make sure it has all MEVSD software installed, Microsoft updates, and anti virus. see Software.

What happens if a family cannot afford to buy a computer device for their child?  We currently have approximately 400 laptops dedicated to the Junior High and . Students who come to school without a device will have access to a laptop if the daily learning experience calls for one. We are absolutely dedicated to the goal of putting tools into the hands of all students to help support and enhance learning.

What kind of device can students bring? Laptop, netbook, notebook, tablet pc’s. Phones and Smartphones are not part of the BYOD program. It’s the teacher’s decision to determine acceptable classroom use for regarding research from phones. The Kindle Fire, iPads, and The Nook may be used for research on the Internet but are not recommended devices.

Is the iPad appropriate for the school environment? It is our belief that appliance type devices, such as the iPad, are not replacements for PC's, as of yet. Much has been written about the iPad as a great media consumption device but it is lacking in the ability to create content. With the current iteration of the iPad, there are definitely limitations that we feel parents should be aware of when considering the purchase of this device, including its lack of Flash Player for watching videos and viewing many Web sites. We cannot recommend this option until we have had more time to study its uses in the classroom.

What device should I buy? Buying a computer is a very personal choice; what one person likes on a computer, another person may not. Ultimately, each person will need to choose the device that works best for their child. However, here are some things to consider as you explore the various options. 

  • Netbook, Notebook, Tablet PC?

Not sure of the differences between the three types of devices? See our Device Comparison page.

  • What size screen should the device have?

Since the students will be toting the device back and forth to school, consider buying a device with a screen size no larger than 14in.

What are the recommended specs we should be looking for? See our Computer Specifications page.
These are rough guidelines only.

What else should we consider when purchasing a device? Battery is one of the most critical barriers to a good computing experience. While students will not be able to plug in when they have a low battery, a suggestion is to get an extra battery. You may even be able to replace the CD drive with an extra battery.

Are there any expected or suggested accessories?

  • Anti-Virus Software (*see below)
  • Protective portable computer sleeve
  • Word processor (*see below)

Strongly suggested

  • Additional battery
  • Theft and hazard insurance

Other suggestions

  • Headset or ear buds for private listening
  • File backup solution (external hard drive at home; backup service like Mozy or Carbonite)

What software do I need on my child's device? See our Recommended Software and Toolkit pages. The most important item you can provide for your child’s device is anti-virus software. Computer viruses on unprotected devices are the most common issue encountered on student-owned devices. There are free anti-virus software programs, such as AVG, Avast, or Microsoft Security Essentials in addition to many products that require a paid subscription (MacAfee, Norton, etc.). Note: many new computers come with free TRIALS of software. Please ensure your child’s device is protected past the trial period.
The good news is most of the software needed these days is web-based and often free. An office suite is a good idea. Possibilities include:

  • Microsoft Office Suite (Cost; search online for an educational discount.)
  • Open Office (Free download at http://www.openoffice.org/)
  • Google Docs: parental account for 11-12 school year. MEVSD will roll out with a district license in the 12-13 school year.

Obviously then, it is not necessary to purchase an office suite of tools with Open Office and Google Docs readily available. However, you might want to take a look at buying Microsoft OneNote, a note taking application for students to manage and organize their notes. There are no other required pieces of software.

Can I install software on my child's computer? Yes. You have administrative rights to your computer and may install your own applications provided that such applications do not violate the school's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).

The Learning

Are 8th graders mature enough to handle the responsibility of carrying a laptop?It is our belief that one day all children will carry some kind of a computing device with them to and from school. It is up to teachers and parents to teach students how to care for these devices in responsible ways. We will work with the students by helping them understand the importance of caring for their equipment.
Please see this link to help answer those questions specific to your child. Teenagers Having Devices

Will the use of computers affect my child's learning? Yes...in a good way! Some of you may ask, "What about learning the basics, like Reading, Writing, Math and Science?" A 21st Century learning environment begins and ends with these subjects! Technology simply enhances, enriches and personalizes the learning for each student.

How can computers be used to support student learning? We simply couldn’t say it any better than principal and educator, Geoffrey Jones:
When computers are used to support program goals and meet individual student needs they can help students work smart.

  • When choices are provided and experimentation allowed, individual learning styles and preferences can be accommodated and enhanced through the flexibility of the computer to interact with pictures, words, numbers, or any other medium the student is most comfortable with. The flexibility of the technology is the key concept. Different students find different word processors, graphics packages, databases, and spreadsheets more or less easy to use.
  • Structured experiences designed by well-trained teachers can help students use computers to develop strengths and overcome or neutralize weaknesses. Word processors do improve writing and expression of ideas. Databases can be as rigid or open as the student needs. Solving problems and answering questions are satisfying outcomes. Students grow in confidence as they build their repertoire of skills.
  • Computers can be used to match the student's pace. They are patient and will hold on to an idea for a long time. They do more complex tasks when students are ready to use them in more complex ways. They provide information when the student is ready for it.
  • When students assume responsibility for the process, they work smarter. Computers serve people. People define problems, set goals and objectives, and determine roles. The better students understand the learning process, the better they will use technology.
  • People learn from people. People are on the other end of the information and ideas accessed through a computer. Students have contact with these people via software, bulletin boards, or face to face in discussions and group projects. Students can meet a lot of smart people through computers.

What types of things will the students be doing on the computers? Students will use their laptops in focused, productive ways including:

  • Researching, studying and evaluating information.
  • Producing multimedia presentations.
  • Collaborating online with teachers, students, other schools and other professionals across the country and around the globe.
  • Uncovering and applying relevant information as part of an informed decision-making process.
  • Submitting materials for assessment and learning how to structure information.

Will they be using the computers everyday and in every class? Students will use computers when the learning calls for it.

What is the benefit of bringing a laptop versus using a district-owned computer? Student-owned devices increase the opportunities for personalized learning since many students have access to the Internet around the clock, connecting them to knowledge when they need it. Work that is started at school can easily be retrieved at home, creating a more fluid learning environment. This may include word documents, multi-media presentations and online discussions with classmates. Additionally, the more students who bring their own laptop to school, the closer we move to a one laptop per child ratio, benefiting all students.
“Every child’s laptop is a studio, laboratory, library, publishing house” ~Gary Stager, Ph.D.

Will students receive any special training on how to use their computers? We have a series of experiences planned that will familiarize students with their laptop in an authentic, seamless manner. Students will also be introduced to a tool box of Web 2.0 applications to enhance and support their learning.

Will my child be expected to use his/her computer both at school and at home? One of the goals of allowing student devices is to provide universal access, meaning access to the learning tools at home and school. We will guide and monitor computer use at school and parents will need to guide and monitor use at home. Please note that computers are tools for learning at school. They will complement and enhance what we do; they will not replace other tools nor will they replace face-to-face interactions.

Student Safety

How will you handle students accessing inappropriate websites during school?
Are they permitted to use Facebook during school?
Without a doubt, the use of technology to support learning will continue to increase; particularly as we begin to realize the tremendous potential these tools have to help students learn. Simply setting up firewalls will not teach students how to use the Internet safely and ethically. Parents and teachers must help students learn how to do so. We will work closely with the staff to develop classroom management techniques that will insure students’ safe navigation of the Internet. In addition, digital citizenship will become a natural part of the curriculum. Finally, the guest network will have the same filters as our district network.
Theft and Damage

How will you handle stolen or damaged laptops? The Milford Exempted Village School District accepts no responsibility for personal property brought to the school by students. Personally owned laptops that are stolen or damaged are the responsibility of the student and their parents/guardians. We will spend time helping students understand the responsibility that comes along with owning a device. To deter theft, we will have the students register their devices’ serial number. Families can also consider theft/damage insurance and/or installing software such as Prey Software (free).

What happens to the computer when students are at lunch, electives, and assembly, or participate in after-school events? The laptop should be stored in the child's locker during these times.

Something is wrong with my child's computer. Who fixes it? The upkeep of student owned devices is the responsibility of each student and their family. We will provide a list of places in the area that troubleshoot and fix computers.

Why are the students not permitted to bring the laptop to class in a laptop bag? Why is a sleeve preferred? Laptop bags and backpacks create multiple issues that greatly limited classroom space and traffic patterns. This, coupled with other safety concerns, contributed to the decision of no backpacks and laptop bags.


My child's book bag is already too full; how do you expect him/her to carry a laptop too? Currently, many of the textbooks are already online and we will seek to one day have all textbooks online. This will, of course, alleviate the heavy book bags and overflowing locker situation.

I'm concerned the laptop will not fit in his locker. Students should try to keep locker spaces clean and free of unnecessary items in order to ensure safe storage.

Will the students be allowed to share their personal device with others?
While we appreciate the art of sharing, we believe the students should only be permitted to use their own computer or computers owned by the district. This will prevent students from being held responsible for damage to another student's device.

Empowered Learning BYOD Frequently Asked Questions by Milford Exempted Village School District is licensed under a 
Based on a work at Milford Junior High School Technology Central.
Milford, OH 45150

This work adapted from an original student handbook from Forest Hills School District
Cincinnati, OH 45255

Apr 10, 2012, 10:59 AM