Technology trends come and go, but one educational technology trend that is hot at the moment is BYOD (or Bring Your Own Device).
Clearly the BYOD phenomenon in schools is not black and white or cut and dried.
The practice of BYOD by schools across Australia lies on a spectrum from little or no engagement with BYOD, to BYOD practices which result in sophisticated teaching and learning programs.
At the lower end of the spectrum students are bringing their own devices to school, but still some schools are demanding that students place these devices in bins at the front of the classroom to resist the temptation of texting, watching videos or playing games. These schools have not embraced the potential of these devices to make an instructional difference.
At the upper end of the spectrum things look very different. Here schools appreciate the enormous benefits of students using their own devices for learning – proven benefits such as increases in productivity, engagement and opportunities for personalized instruction to name a few.
To get to this point, schools operating at the upper end of the BYOD spectrum have had to overcome some well documented obstacles.
Firstly these schools have succeeded in gaining school leader, teacher and parent acceptance of the BYOD phenomenon, which is not an easy task.
They are managing the equity issues which inevitably arise. They have found a way for each child to have access to a device and have provided the connectivity to access resources from home.
Security for these schools is an issue but not an insurmountable obstacle. Through mobile device management and other ways of protecting and strengthening the school’s infrastructure, they have managed to calm some of the security fears about BYOD.
As BYOD programs gain momentum, schools save money on devices. Astute schools funnel any savings into growing the network capability and network expertise – ensuring the sustainability of these BYOD programs and the quality of student learning.