Andrew Campbell, Education Consultant

To BYOD or not to BYOD…

While out on the road visiting schools, we often get asked about the benefits of implementing a Bring your own device or BYOD initiative in a school. Today, Texthelper, Andrew tells us about the benefits of implementing BYOD initiatives as well as ways to overcome the few drawbacks we’ve encountered.

In today’s fast paced world, technology is ever changing. Couple that with the differing needs of each student in the classroom and it suddenly becomes almost impossible for schools to provide up-to-date hardware that meets the needs of every student. 

To BYOD...

A Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, initiative means that each student in your classroom can quite literally bring their own hardware into school and can make use of it during lessons. One obvious benefit of this is that it saves copious costs when it comes to updating school hardware banks. By allowing thems to bring their own hardware, you effectively wipe out this cost. With this up-to-date technology in the hands of your students, they’ll then have instant access to a wide variety of educational apps and extensions, right at their fingertips. And, what’s more is that these kids are used to working with their own devices, saving you, the teacher time by not needing to be trained on new devices, and also not having to train the students to use them. It means you can focus on what really matters, the quality and content of your lessons.

Looking to other countries for examples of BYOD being successfully implemented, North America and parts of Scandinavia are seeing real results in terms of both cost savings and student progression. By implementing something similar, you’re essentially future-proofing your classroom as BYOD is proven to work well with the flipped classroom and the collaborative classroom. 

...Or not to BYOD?

That being said, there are some well documented drawbacks to the notion of BYOD. One major drawback being passed around is that by encouraging the use of a student’s own technology is only encouraging distraction. But, if students are going to use their smartphones under the desk anyway, why not encourage use in the classroom, for educational purposes? If schools were to introduce BYOD at an earlier stage that secondary school, students would be used to the idea of using a smartphone or tablet and therefore become more disciplined during class time. 

There’s also a worry that by introducing a BYOD policy means heightened security concerns. Schools can overcome this by providing laptops or tablets that students ‘own’ or rent from the school. This can easily provide a solution to security and social threats. 

Allowing students to own or rent devices from the school also means that you’re alleviating pressure on parents to provide their children with the most up-to-date or ‘cool’ tech. By hiring or renting from the school, each student still has access to a device which they are familiar with and can use in each classroom, without singling out disadvantaged children.

By introducing cloud based collaboration at the same time as a BYOD policy means that teaching methods don’t have to be altered at all. By using Chromebooks and G Suite for Education with Google Classroom as an example, each student can be allocated work and submit homework in one place, therefore meaning that teachers don’t have to set separate assignments for different operating systems. What’s even better about G Suite for Education is that it’s completely free!

So what do you think? To BYOD or not to BYOD? That is the question. 

We’d love to know what you think about implementing BYOD. Does it work? Leave your comments below.


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