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Oct 30

Are You Ready For BYOD?

If the title of this blog did not make you think twice, then congratulations,  you have encountered this educational trend. If you needed to think twice when you first read it due to mis-interpretation, then you are in need of staff development.

BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, is the catchphrase for the use of technology in business and for our focus of interest, public education.  You may also see it referred to as BYOT-Bring Your Own Technology. The acronym for education refers to students bringing their own technology like smart phones, tablets and laptops to school for educational use. In a way, this is a trickle down method for facilitating learning from higher education where students in colleges/universities supply their own technology for assignments and research. Public schools have provided these electronic devices using the school division’s funds but have now found a way to transfer the responsibility to parents to purchase the technology items needed for school work.

BYOD has, like many initiatives you have experienced in public education, its’ positive points and also issues that raise questions about the practicality of this learning arrangement.

On the plus side of this initiative, when parents purchase the items for their students, this could allow school divisions to use hardware funds for other technology purposes. For teachers, it provides the opportunity to have these items in each classroom and not just in a “technology lab.”  For students, the advantage is to have the devices at home and to be able to access the resources at home that they were accessing in the classroom.

The other side of BYOD is the inability of schools lacking filtering software to filter out inappropriate data (video,images, etc) on devices brought into school. Also, theft of these items while students are in school is currently an issue and would be expanded with the increase of more technology items available for “sticky fingers.”  Who will bear the responsibility for paying for the replacement of these items?

School divisions may wish to consider the following issues when determining whether to incorporate BYOD in their schools.

  • What about students who cannot afford a laptop, smart phone or a tablet?
  • Who supports the devices when technical problems occur?
  • How would they deal with cyber-bullying that may occur during school hours?

If you would like to have more information, a recent item in ASCD Smartbrief  “Exploring the BYOD Trend in Education” is available at:

http://education.tmcnet.com/topics/education/articles/313447-exploring-byod-trend-education.htm