A-H asks students to ‘bring your own device’

Students will have the opportunity to connect wirelessly at district schools this fall for learning opportunities

Thinking about getting your child a smartphone or electronic tablet this year? It might be a worthwhile endeavor based on Anoka-Hennepin School District’s new “bring your own device” policy.

Beginning this fall, secondary students can use personal devices such as laptops, netbooks, tablets and smartphones to access the district’s wireless network during the school day.

The effort is part of Anoka-Hennepin’s four-year technology plan calling for increased wireless access and its commitment to creating a 21st Century learning environment which maximizes technology. Upon instructor approval, students will be able to use their devices as an educational tool in the classroom.

Students will have greater access to district resources such as:

•Online grades

•A-H Apps (Google Docs for Anoka-Hennepin Schools)


•Moodle classroom and/or teacher websites

•District subscriptions (e.g. Discovery Education and Atomic Learning).

The new technology initiative will help foster digital citizenship amongst students in Anoka-Hennepin schools as instructors demonstrate proper etiquette techniques. Superintendent Dennis Carlson said the increased access will also prepare students.

“In our ever-increasing digital world, this is a great opportunity for students to become familiar with the endless possibilities of technology,” Carlson said. “But even more importantly, they will learn that technology is a means to enhance learning.”

The district planned the initiative for a year to ensure that students would be properly trained and meet the acceptable use guidelines.

David Treichel, technology facilitator, stressed those students who do not have personal wireless devices will not be at a disadvantage because teachers will not require their use in completing required assignments.

Chief Technology and Information Officer Dr. Joel VerDuin said that in circumstances such as these, some pairing up may occur with students and that there may even be a limited number of devices owned by the district that can be loaned to students during classes.

“Our teachers and principals are extremely sensitive to not creating an equity issue,” said VerDuin. “There has been careful planning in how to structure a lesson.”

VerDuin said the new initiative shouldn’t interfere with the school district’s policy on restricting device use. While it has taken some extra time in planning on teachers’ part, VerDuin said they are the ones who actually asked for the opportunity to integrate technology into the curriculum.

“The district has relaxed on that policy a bit as many districts have,” said VerDuin. He clarified that while devices such as cell phones are not allowed in elementary schools, they are allowed before and after school at the middle schools. For high schools, they are also allowed between class times. Since teachers will determine whether or not students can use devices in their classes or for specific activities, the rest of the policy, “essentially doesn’t change,” said VerDuin. Additionally, access through the school district’s wireless is still filtered, although he said monitoring is still the best defense.

VerDuin says the integration of technology into classroom learning — called “bring your own device” — is an initiative occurring across the nation.

For additional information and guidelines that apply to specific grade levels, please visit the Anoka-Hennepin School District website at www.anoka.k12.mn.us/ahmobile.