Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?
We learn from Teachthought.com that “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is one of the fastest moving technology trends in the education industry. BYOD can increase student and teacher collaboration, extend learning beyond the traditional classroom walls and cut costs for many school districts.”
Since I was a tech for the Anchorage School District for over 5 years my opinion might be different from some of my peers. First I want to state that every student having some kind of technology device does open up limitless possibilities to new avenues of learning. I have seen where the devices do stimulate learning and independent learning.
Some of the challenges I foresee with BYOD are:
- The teacher could have limited knowledge on how to assist with any technical problems
- The student might not have the programs needed
- The device might not be able to support the needed program
- If the student leaves the charger at home, they might not be able to borrow one
- Viruses, so many tablets are used for surfing the web and do not have any kind of antivirus installed to protect them or the school’s wifi
- Children are children, who would manage the transportation and / or possibility of theft
My first choice is to supply the students with standardized mobile devices. Having standardized equipment such as a rolling cart with tablets or mini pcs has issues as well. There is a learning curve for students; some will require more direction than others. If the devices are standardized, you can install any needed programs ahead of time. Troubleshooting any technical issues is easier when all the devices are the same.
If that is not an option, then yes a BYOD policy needs to be implemented. Having a pre-session so that the instructors know what devices the students have is a great idea so that they know how to navigate through the system. I have been in IT for over 15 years and there are so many tablets that I still have not seen. Students will also be able to show where their skillset is and what their device is capable of.
I know what it is like to manage 100+ mobile devices. It is not easy. Children will pick up devices carry them out of the lab switch with their friends. The positive side is when you get passed the implementation phase and into the learning stages. Once you lay down the ground rules and put up a few reminder posters, children will understand what the expected behavior should be. Children love having tablets. You can see the sense of ownership in learning when they show you their progress in a program. Children can be taught to be responsible. In my schools, the students knew where the sign-up sheet was located to report any problems. They knew to flip them over to see the label I created to see the device number. They also learned how to place them back in the mobile carts for charging so that they are ready the next time they had their mobile learning device time.
Martini, Peter. (2013, Dec 22). 4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/
Heick, Terry. (2015, Feb 6). The Brutal Authenticity of BYOD. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/byod-is-shortest-path-to-student-centered-learning/
Quetti, Rachel. (2015, Sept 17). BYOD: The Challenges, How it Can Succeed in the Classroom. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/byod_the_challenges_it_presents_and_how_you_can_overcome_them/P3#