Over the past few years, there has been a steady increase in the implementation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies across companies. And since integrating technology in education became necessary, schools have seen the need to adopt the BYOD policy. However, implementing the BYOD policy must be made while taking some factors—such as student performance, teacher training, community preference, and financial viability—into consideration.
Bring your own device—also called bring your own technology, bring your own phone, and bring your own personal computer—refers to being allowed to use one’s personally owned device, rather than using an officially provided device.
For schools choosing to implement BYOD, clear policies must be established to prevent online misconduct. In other words, students must learn digital citizenship to enable them to know how to interact in the virtual world. And for schools contemplating the importance of BYOD, here are five reasons to encourage bring-your-own-device to aid teaching and learning.
BYOD gives most (if not all) students access to devices
BYOD can be a source of financial relief from stretched tech budgets for schools. In other words, schools do not have to create an overly expensive list of tech devices as students can bring theirs. Even if schools have to purchase devices that some students cannot afford, it still helps them, in most cases, save more. The BYOD policy can help schools reduce their budget to accommodate the more financially disadvantaged students.
Students enjoy a more personalized learning process
It is common to see two or more students using one computer in many private and public schools, which is inappropriate, except for group projects. But encouraging the BYOD policy gives students a more personalized learning approach. This means that a student can conveniently learn with his/her devices without keeping up with other students’ excesses by sharing a screen.
BYOD policy grooms students career-wise
Like we mentioned earlier, companies are adopting BYOD policies to save costs. Encouraging this policy in schools will help students develop necessary tech literacy skills early enough. It is important to understand where students are heading after they graduate from high school. BYOD is much more common in post-secondary institutions, and it is unarguably a trend in the workplace. So, it is wise to help them develop digital literacy while they are still in school.
Global Market Insights reports that the BYOD market will increase from a $30 billion industry in 2014 to a $367 billion industry by 2022. That would support the 2016 claim by Cisco that businesses who practice BYOD in the workplace save $350 per employee per year and can save up to $1300 per year per employee. So it is safe to say that BYOD is not going away anytime soon.
Nowadays, many websites are built with a mobile-first strategy to optimize the browsing experience on smartphones. The use of mobile phones has steadily increased, and it is now the dominant option for visiting sites. The reason is simple: Mobile devices are much more convenient than desktops and allow users to browse content when necessary. In the classroom, if managed properly, the use of mobile devices via the BYOD policy could enable students to access supplementary information related to a lecture or topic — without having to cluster around a laptop.
Familiar and extended learning
Students are most likely to enjoy learning when they use devices that they are already familiar with for schoolwork. In a BYOD policy-enabled environment, students can easily navigate through their devices and identify apps faster. They can also continue the learning process at home—under the supervision of their parents or guardians—as their schoolwork is already saved on the device.
Making BYOD work in your school
If you decide to adopt a BYOD policy, think carefully about how to implement the initiative. Making a sensible plan is the first step to enhancing education with technology. Here are some factors to consider:
- Have a clear policy: Allowing students to bring any tech device they like can spell trouble. Schools can and should establish a BYOD policy and specify permitted and prohibited devices. Identify the preferred platform, which your network can support.
- Review the school’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP): The school should outline the language(s) that establishes parameters for working on the school’s network. The AUP should also prohibit downloading any apps that could present a security threat or violate the law.
- Teach students how to be responsible in the virtual world: Before adopting the BYOD policy, educators must outline a code of conduct for students. They should also monitor each student’s activity on the network, providing redirection when necessary.
- Equip teachers: Adopting the BYOD policy without preparing the teachers can cause frustration and reluctance. Provide teachers with the professional development they need to instruct and guide their students.
Although the BYOD policy is not the ultimate, it has proven to be a solution to most of the challenges many schools have to tackle these days. A well-planned BYOD policy bridges the gap between tech funding and extended learning opportunities and places technology in the hands of those who need it the most – classroom learners.