Milam prepares for students to bring personal technology

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Personal computers brought to school by next year’s Milam Elementary students will need three main components.
They must be able to connect to the Internet, have eight hours of battery life and have a keyboard. Preferably, they’ll also need to be able to load Adobe Flash programs.
The Tupelo Public School District announced in March it would allow Milam students to bring their own computers and tablets to school next year. The Bring Your Own Device initiative will replace the one-to-one laptop program at that school only. It also will serve as a pilot for the district as it determines the future of its technology program now that its laptops are three and four years old.
Students will not be required to bring their own computers to school, as the school will have classroom sets available for them to use there. They will not be able to bring the school computers home, however.
“Kids get accustomed to using a device, and we want them to be able to use their own,” said TPSD Assistant Superintendent Kim Britton. “If a parent doesn’t feel comfortable with sending a device to school, the child will have a device they can use at school.”
Britton said students will be responsible for their own device but that the district will follow the policies it has now and will investigate cases of theft.
“Students who take other students’ devices will be subject to punishment by the school administration,” she said. “We will punish them appropriately.”
The reason for the Flash compatibility requirement is that it would allow the students access to the Classworks computer program the district uses. Apple iPhones and iPads are not compatible with Flash. However, if students bring a device that does not work with that program, students could use one of the classroom computers when needed.
The most important thing, Britton said, is that the device can get on the Internet. Students will do their work on Google Drive programs and will save it to the Cloud.
The district will buy Chromebook computers for its classroom machines.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com