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BYOD Program Helps Rural School Improve

BYOD Program Helps Rural School Improve

Daisy Dyer Duerr is the former principal of a rural preK-12 school in Arkansas, where 80% of students are on free/reduced lunch, indicating a low socioeconomic background in what Dyer Duerr describes as an “isolated” community.

When Dyer Duerr and her administration decided to look for ways to innovate, implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program was one of the ways Dyer Duerr sought to provide connectivity to all students. She said the move was an attempt to equalize her students’ circumstances, and was pleased with the results.

"In 2012 I honestly got tired of doing discipline referrals for students with cell phones, and started listening to the things people...were saying about the great learning coming from BYOD programs; that was when it all began to make sense,” Dyer Duerr said in a post.

So, in order to determine if a BYOD program would be effective, Dyer Duerr set out to survey the students in her rural community and find out what kind of resources were available to them at home.

“In this survey we found 75% of our 7-12th grade students had cell phones (2013 survey) and ½ of those were smartphones. WOW! What a far cry from my assumptions…and I would hazard to say, probably many peoples in similar situations!"

Dyer Duerr and her staff responded to the results quickly. Immediately the team added a digital citizenship component to its advisory program and changed policies to reflect the new openness to students bringing in devices from home. For students who did not have smart phones or similar devices, Dyer Duerr wrote grants to provide them with it.

Thanks to these changes, Dyer Duerr’s school went from a state grade of “F” to “A,” and saw a significant increase in math and literacy scores.

And her advice for other schools seeking to provide students with innovation and equal opportunity?

“BYOD is something attainable for any school, don’t 'assume' students don’t have access to devices; they do. We are now a community of learners accessing personal devices for learning…connectivity is a GOOD THING!"

Dyer Duerr was recently recognized by the Smarter Schools Project; you can watch her video below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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