Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is now an integral part of every 9th to 12th grade student’s daily routine at Harrisburg Academy.  Since its start in the fall of 2011, BYOD has been a successful ‘laptop only’ program that excluded tablets of any kind.  To ensure consistency in the classroom and availability of resources, our policy required either a Windows or Mac laptop.  However, as tablets have become an increasingly more important resource, the Technology Department has worked to make them compatible with the BYOD program.

Over the past few months, we performed extensive testing on the Apple iPad, the Asus Android-based tablet, and the new Microsoft Surface RT.  Although we discovered some classroom-related issues, we assessed these risks and investigated possible solutions.  Our conclusion was that the combination of risks and solutions was acceptable for the flexibility we would gain in allowing students to use tablets in the classroom.  Now students can have a functional device for as little as $250, instead of $500 or more for a laptop or netbook.  And we expect BYOD to continue to grow as tablet technology becomes increasingly more prevalent.  Please note that we do not consider smartphones to be tablets and are not acceptable as a student’s BYOD device.

Although this policy change directly affects only Upper School students and faculty, it may have indirect effects on all grade levels as tablet computers migrate into the lower grades, both as school-supplied machines or as extensions of the BYOD program.  As always, the IT department is committed to our “Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime, Any Computer” mantra.

Stay tuned for more technology updates for the upcoming academic year.  If you have any questions about the BYOD program or technology at the Academy, please contact Bob Bell by email (bell.b@harrisburgacademy.org) or phone (717-763-7811).