BYOD, the Way Forward?

Source: Brad Flinckinger

It started out as the buzz word, BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, seemed like a slightly farfetched concept but it’s starting to take hold in schools all around the UK and US – with surprising results.

The Rationale

The basic idea is for students to bring their own devices (phones, cameras, tablets etc) to school p for use in every class. The reasoning is partly that students often have better devices than the institutional equipment and know how to use them and partly that schools can save a lot of money by making use of students’ own devices.

According to a study conducted by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the number of UK schools considering employing a BYOD strategy has increased from 52% in 2012 to 67% this year.

How to Do it

J Bevacqua, a school principal in Canada and the blogger behind Figuring it Out advises the following when choosing to adopt a BYOD policy:

  • Know why you’re doing it; the purpose of allowing these devices in the classroom is to assist with teaching, not to replace it or detract from it.
  • Empower educators to use the tech in a beneficial way. Teachers might shy away from the technology or be unsure of how best to use it. Making sure that the teaching staff are comfortable with the devices and know how to get the most out of using them will ultimately benefit the learners most.
  • When adopting a BYOD policy a number of structural changes will likely need to be implemented at the school; like providing more outlets for students to charge their devices and stronger wifi networks that can handle the increased usage.

The University of Leicester also advises schools to have a cyber-bullying policy. There will always be bullies and a BYOD policy invites the same issues online – schools need to have the appropriate measures in place to deal with this.

As the trend starts gaining in popularity more and more schools will likely switch to some version of BYOD in the near future. The trick will be to manage this process effectively by equipping teachers and controlling the kind of access students have online.

 

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