BYOD is an idea and implementation where students bring their own personal learning devices to school (laptop, iPad/tablet, smartphone, etc.) to be use to learning and instructional purposes while in school. This is an alternative to schools providing a personal learning device for each student. Many schools across the country struggle to obtain enough devices so that each students can have access to it at any given time. The most ideal situation would be 1:1 ration of devices per students, but because of budget cuts and the high cost of technology, many schools are unable to do this. However, because teachers and schools are responsible for preparing students to live and work in the 21st century, access to devices and technology is completely necessary (Walsh, 2012). Schools have began using BYOD as an answer to this problem (Chadband, 2012).
BYDO is an innovative idea, and is really the simplest way to allow all students to access technology without crippling a school’s budget. Many students, especially in high school, bring these kinds of devices to school with them anyway. In the past educators and administrators had to fight against students use of personal devices during the school day. Lots of wasted energy and effort went into keeping students off these devices, when it was almost inevitable they would bring them to school anyway and attempt to use them during the day as well (Flanigan, 2013). Now schools can take advantage of all of this available technology that students have an bring to school anyway, instead of fight against it. Additionally, one article claims that BYOD is even better than having a 1:1 ratio of devices for students in the school because when everyone has the same kind of device and same kind of software, teachers just tend to do what they usually do, but when students bring in their own devices, teachers are forced to adapt and use new ideas to allow all the different models of technology to fit in with their instructional plan (Flanigan, 2013).
BYOD also complements a flipped classroom really well. When students come in, they are expected to have done their homework, which usually entails watching an instructional video, however it is inevitable that students will have questions for their teacher when apply the instruction in the class the next day. One of the greatest struggle of teaching, helping each student as quickly and as thoroughly as possible, can now be augmented through the use of personal learning devices. One teacher who uses a flipped classroom in a BYOD school has her students refer back to the lecture she recorded on their device until she is able to go around and help each student (Chadband, 2012).
BYOD policies do bring some trouble to district though, and in order to be implemented properly, requires a lot of planning and forethought. One main issue is privacy and security. Schools can address this through having different networks for teachers and students (Holeywell, 2013). Another solution to ensuring that students act appropriately while using technology, which includes discouraging cyberbullying, downloading, looking at inappropriate sites, etc., is by teaching student how to be digital citizens and how to act responsibly while online, additionally, schools can have students sign acceptable use contracts before implementing BYOD policies.
Also while implementing a BYOD plan it is important to have forums for parents and community members to attend, so they can fully understand what the school is doing and why, and to have an outlet to ask any questions (Walsh, 2012). Schools must also iron out bandwidth issues before starting BYOD (Martini, 2013). It is important that schools’ bandwidth is able to handle the increased amount of devices that it will support with BYOD, which can be up to 3 or 4 times more devices (Martini).
To me, BYOD just makes sense. At the beginning of the school year, many schools send out school supply lists, things that they want to make sure students have when school starts. Why would we not include a personal learning device on that list, when most students will bring one anyway? Most students love using their phone or tablets, and the ability to use them while in school will only increase their engagement and excitement while learning. Of course there can always be the stipulation that students who cannot afford one can receive assistance from the school, as happens with regular school supplies, but many students will probably be able to bring in devices, and will want to, and will be able to help enrich and modernize their learning and education.
Here are some really great tips for starting a BYOD program in schools from : http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2013/02/06/02byod.h06.html
1. Be clear about the rules. Have students and parents sign an acceptable-use policy, or post color-coded signs throughout the school that clearly spell out what is expected in each area and the consequences for infractions.
2. Develop a systematic rollout. New BYOD initiatives bring with them a lot of questions, concerns, and fears from the community (including staff and students). Helping people first understand the benefits and risks—through meetings, training sessions, and printed materials—leads to greater acceptance.
3. Address capacity, not just coverage.Adequate coverage ensures there are no dead zones, but addressing capacity is an important step in preventing network overload. Problems typically occur where students or teachers congregate and use their wireless technology simultaneously
4. Teach digital citizenship. Any BYOD initiative should focus as much on behavior as infrastructure, given the trouble students can get into otherwise.