678 ET: Week Nine: Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?

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.”

 

Mobile technology

 

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.

 

 

Sources:

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#

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7 thoughts on “678 ET: Week Nine: Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?

  1. I appreciate the list you created regarding the challenges of BYOD. Those are obvious reasons, but I never thought to list them in my own blog. I know the struggle of forgetting a charger at home and having to limit my use on my devices. I remember during my internship year in Fairbanks, our split 4-6 class had a roll out cart for lap tops. It was a good idea to share the device amongst other 4-6 classes, but it was frustrating when we couldn’t use it when we needed it.

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  2. Josie,

    That is awesome—I did not know that you were a tech for the ASD for over 5 years! Good point that students’ technology devices opens up so many opportunities, possibilities and never thought of previously, avenues for learning.

    I wonder if some of the programs (such as certain math or reading programs purchased by the school) they need are contracted for school use devices only? Fortunately, I know that some programs are catching on to allowing students the option of using programs at home as well, which means the program would be on their own personal devices anyway.

    Pre-sessions with instructors would help. Also, having links for teachers to click on that connect to how to use the 100+ mobile devices would save teachers so much time to not have to look these up on their own.

    Great idea—having students sign-up on a sheet to report problems sounds like a way to report issues. Were these only problems that regard the mechanical operations of the device? I wonder if they had a place to anonymously report device abuses.

    Aleta

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  3. Great perspective on BYOD from a techie! I do agree that kids are enthralled with tablets. It’s like a picture book, but better! If I had to suggest a BYOD, it would be a basic tablet. You are right in saying there are hundreds of models out there. I think it would help choosing a BYOD if districts have a minimum specification list, and that would at least narrow the choices to “better” tablets. Some nice ones are less than $200, way less than a laptop. It would be nice to hear from a teacher who has used a class set of iPads. That operating system seems intuitive and they have millions of apps to use for education. But they are on the expensive side. It would be nice to hear from someone that has used such a setup in the class for learning and share their perspective.

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    1. I really like having a class set of iPads. I’m able to be sure that all the devices have the apps that I want them to have on there before using that app in class. I’m able to give instructions to the class about how to navigate certain programs or problems and have a good idea of how each machine should react. Students know where to get their devices and I don’t have to worry about lost chargers. When something is wrong with one iPad, the IT person at school can help me. Since all the machines are the same, students easily help other students troubleshoot problems. It would take some convincing for me to go away from a class set of iPads to students bringing their own devices.

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      1. I will have a class set of Chromebooks this fall, but wish I had iPads like you. It does seem more structured to have similar devices. And you are right, if there is a problem, no sweat.

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  4. Its true that there are hundreds of devices out there but a school school should limit the number of devices that a students can use on the schools network. Once a student has a device registered then he/she can not register another one. This will keep the students focused on one device and not keep bringing in different ones. Students will become experts on the use of their device and will not have problems continually learning to use their device.

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