What is BYOD and is it Right for Your School?

Technology in the classroom is arguably one of the most talked about topics in education.

There continues to be a lot of discussion about 1:1 personalized learning environments in which schools provide each student with a laptop computer, netbook or tablet. A big challenge with 1:1 is that many schools don’t have the funding to promote such practices. So what’s the alternative? Should schools that are unable to implement 1:1 simply forgo an opportunity to implement technology in the classroom?

There are options other than just adding a computer lab or a small number of devices shared within the classroom. A trend from the business world continues to be discussed in education: bring your own device―or BYOD―which allows students to use their own personal devices at school in an effort to integrate technology into the classroom.

Making Sense of BYOD
The line between learning at school and learning at home is quite thin these days. Blurred from the constant on-the-go, device-in-hand society we live in, barriers between learning at home and learning at school exist a lot less these days.

Two of the biggest considerations around BYOD are device management and student safety. Here are some questions to ask when considering a BYOD policy.

  • How will you manage the software and apps on each device?
  • Will the devices have different versions of the same software, or different software altogether?
  • What happens when a device breaks or is left at home?
  • When can students use their devices and what access do you need to them?
  • What types of spam and virus protection are being used?
  • Is there content filtering or monitoring in place for student safety?
  • What content do students have access to, for instance their accounts on social networks or unfiltered YouTube?

Giving it Some More Thought
As cliché as it sounds, technology is everywhere. Students’ use of technology outside the classroom is driving their need for more technology inside the classroom.

A BYOD policy means students come into the classroom with a device they’ve already developed familiarity with, but as you have learned, there’s a lot more involved other than just allowing them to start using their favorite device at school. In addition to answering these and other questions, students will need to practice good digital citizenship, but what better way for them to begin learning that lesson?