Week 9: Emerging Technology: Does Every School Need A “BYOD” Policy?
BYOD, or “bring your own device,” refers to students bringing their own technology tools to school. This can be an iPhone, iPad, tablet, computer, or other mobile device. I can see positive effects and negative effects of allowing BYOD. The negative effects can be headed off by planning carefully ahead of time.
Wikipedia states that about 75% of employees in markets such as Brazil and Russia are already using their personal technology at work. In the Middle East, it’s about 80%. Some positive effects are that these devices help employees increase their productivity; an IBM study shows that BYOD increases satisfaction and productivity and saves the company money.
Some negative results have resulted in the form of data breaches, e.g., when an employee loses a phone with secured data or leaves the company. Also there are often problems connecting personal devices to school or company networks.
In an effort to bring 21st century technology into the classroom, some schools are allowing students to bring their own technology (ipad, computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.) to use in the classroom (Walsh, 2012). I think this would be good for some schools that implement the program correctly. One example is in Ohio where, in the Oak Hills School District, they set up a strict user policy before they got started and saved the district $1.27 million (Walsh, 2012). I thought the steps they followed were pretty well thought out:
Step 1: Community Engagement: This is a series of meetings with all involved—parents, teachers, administrators, students, community business leaders, and board members.
Step 2: Develop A Team: Their responsibilities include learning new technologies and helping others to learn new technologies.
Step 3: Install the Physical Infrastructure: This is a wireless and secure infrastructure, which is vital to a successful BYOD program.
Step 4: Develop the Tools (Software Infrastructure) (Key!): This is one of the most important things to address because of the software tools that can be utilized by all students on any device. This requires defining a standard set of private and public cloud apps that are “device-agnostic.”
Step 5: Develop a Portal: It is important to create a central location that collects those resources. The idea is to have a one-stop shop for students, staff, and parents.
Step 6: Develop an Acceptable Use Policy: Another element in a successful BYOD initiative, by which users agree to abide by certain rules.
Step 7: Build Your Curriculum: A “Companion Site for All Courses” works as a centralized clearinghouse for how technology works with all subjects.
Step 8: Choose Supported Devices: The goal is to support as many devices as possible, but basic technical requirements must be met.
Step 9: Monitor Usage: Monitoring usage of network resources, content pages, and apps can provide excellent feedback.
Step 10: Q&A: A small set of questions and answers close out these resources. (Walsh, 2012)
One thing that I see as a problem is the effects of BYOD on students who don’t have their own computers, iPads, or smart phones. Many students, especially in my school, are from low-income families. Lacey (2014) said 20% of students receive free or reduced lunch. The district uses Title 1 Funds to purchase devices for these students. Also, many do not have Internet at home, so the district provides low-cost Internet to these families. I think if we could equip all low-income students who can’t afford a device or Internet, that would be good. Otherwise, the students and parents will be stressing over not having a device or Internet and not being able to afford any.
New technology is expensive, so, especially with the budget cuts that many districts are taking, I think BYOD is a good step. Most of the students already own the latest phone or computer. A liberal BYOD policy could save the district thousands of dollars. Tossing teachers into a BYOD environment without any training wouldn’t be effective, though (Chadband, 2012).
I think, with the proper training and equipment for all, BYOD can work. Teachers would need to be trained on other equipment that they think students will use in the classroom. Myself, I am a Mac person and only have used Mac. I think it would be difficult for me to help students when I don’t know how to use the device. When I was learning how to play Minecraft, I went to my Cousin’s place, where the kids knew how and were trying to show me. When I gave them my computer, they didn’t know what keys to push because it was a Mac. Once they got their iPad, they were off, so I can see this as a problem. If there were enough help and all students were able to afford the latest technology, then it would be great. The steps listed above need to be taken for it to work.
Bring your own device. (2015). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:26, July 13, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bring_your_own_device&oldid=670168691
Chadband, E. (2012, July 19). Should Schools Embrace “Bring Your Own Device”? – NEA Today. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/
Lacey, K. (2014). BYOD success stories. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/byod-success-stories
Walsh, K. (2012). BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Can Work Well When Approached Properly. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/12/making-byod-work-in-schools/