Florida to Become Statewide BYOD Model?

By Ian Quillen — October 16, 2012 2 min read

More than a decade after Maine launched the first-ever statewide 1-to-1 school laptop program, Florida could be on the path to launching a statewide bring-your-own-device model, according to a story from this Sunday’s Orlando Sentinel.

According to the Sentinel, the state’s board of education is seeking around $440 million for the state’s “Education Technology Modernization Initiative,” which among other projects would fund round-the-clock computer access next year for students whose families are unable to provide it themselves.

The implication, then, would be that the state would either be mandating or at the very least encouraging schools to let students whose families can provide devices and Internet access to use those devices both during the school day and after school hours.

The bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, classroom computing movement has gained substantial popularity during the last two to three years, as many educational technology leaders have come to the dual conclusions that 1-to-1 computing is good for students, but not affordable if districts pay for all the devices themselves.

It’s becoming an especially popular idea among larger districts, so perhaps it’s not surprising that a larger state, such as Florida, would consider a statewide BYOD model—with loaner devices for students who don’t have their own—instead of following directly in Maine’s footsteps.

The cost of leasing roughly 304,000 iPads, netbooks, or laptops would be about $52 million, roughly an eighth of the total expense of an initiative that would also fund bandwidth and wireless upgrades, the Sentinel reports.

Under the proposal, each district in the state would choose the particular device it wanted to provide students, and it would be required to provide a matching number of devices from its own budget to correlate with those provided through state funds. That would make for two thirds of the total devices needed in grades 3-11 to create a statewide 1-to-1 climate, with the remaining third provided by students’ families, according to the Sentinel.

In estimating that only a third of students would be able to provide their own devices, the board is delineating between smart devices that have full Web capabilities and more affordable cellphones or media players that may not be as multifunctional. In many BYOD districts, superintendents or chief technology officers report roughly between two thirds to three quarters of students bringing some sort of device to class, though the capabilities of those devices may be limited.

The board’s budget recommendations are far from final, and will be considered along with those of other state agencies when Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, draws up his annual budget proposal for consideration by next year’s legislature. But they do fall in line with a state goal of replacing all print educational resources with digital ones by 2015, according to the Sentinel.

Florida has built a reputation for being a leader in the use of educational technology. The Florida Virtual School is the nation’s largest state-sponsored virtual school, and the state legislature recently passed a law mandating that all students pass an online course to graduate from high school. Further, Gov. Jeb Bush, also a Republican, is now co-founder of the Digital Learning Now initiative that advocates for digital-friendly state education policy changes around the country.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read