What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

BYOD, also referred to as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), refers to the practice of people bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices with them to the learning or work environment. Intel coined the term in 2009, when the company observed that an increasing number of its employees were using their own devices and connecting them to the corporate network. Since implementing BYOD policies, the company has reported up to 5 million hours of annual productivity gains, a statistic that is compelling many other companies to consider BYOD. In schools, the BYOD movement addresses the same reality; many students are entering the classroom with their own devices, which they use to connect to the school’s network. While BYOD policies have been shown to reduce overall technology spending, they are gaining traction more so because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working. A 2013 Cisco Partner Network Study found that BYOD practices are becoming more common across industries, particularly in education; over 95% of educators surveyed responded that they use their own device for work purposes. Although administrators and educators have cited IT security concerns, technology gap issues, and platform neutrality as challenges to the uptake of this technology, a growing number of models in practice are paving the way for BYOD to enter the mainstream.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • My current school (as well as my two previous schools) encouraged students to bring their own electronic devices to school, with varying degrees. The school in which I currently teach provides laptops for each student starting in Grade 6, and also provides access to class iPads. In my own classes, I encourage my students to use their laptops every day. I like being able to use Google Docs and sharing the information directly with the students. With the iPads, I've used them mainly to create stop-motion videos in class. We don't really have an issue with students using their mobiles inappropriately in class, so I often have students use them to take a quiz on Socrative. Even my daughter (who is in 3rd grade) has her own school-provided laptop (which she has to keep in class), an email account, and access to school-approved websites. - uzay.ashton uzay.ashton Nov 3, 2015
  • I see this an inevitable. At many 1:1 international schools we are still providing at least a laptop if not a second device to students. This is very costly for all involved (especially when those big refresh cycles come up), and in many cases the return on investment is diminishing. As more and more computing power gets pushed to the cloud, even tasks like 3D design won't require much local processing power or any particular platform. At well-resourced schools the number of devices per individual is climbing (at one point my wife and I had 8 devices between us, counting work and personal laptops, tables, phones, etc.). The money used to purchase laptops for staff and students (despite most of us having devices like these already) could be used on so many other innovative tools.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 4, 2015
  • Agree with Jason, above, and believe the focus for many schools is not just financial savings, but a growing multiple device fatigue (why do I need a school iPad when I have the same, or better model, at home?). When looked at from this perspective the focus shifts.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 5, 2015
  • I also like that the word device is being used. The standard laptop is no longer the appropriate tool for every task. Tablets like the iPad or Smartphones make far more sense depending on the task or the user (ex. keyboards are not useful for most kindergarteners).- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 5, 2015 Here here to that. As long as minimal requirements are met in terms of processing speed for certain levels or curricular needs, the device can be pretty independent. - mark.mcelroy mark.mcelroy Nov 9, 2015
  • There are challenges that faces schools implementing BYOD schemes, I have studeid and researched many schools in Saudi failure to implement BYOD loosing control of students and teacher inability to control classrooms, proper IT staffing, and proper infrastructure , connectivity and proper network managment are all issues that needs to be resolved prior to BYOD, contents and teacher trainning methods and approaches should be researched more in this subject.- abdulrahman.hasan abdulrahman.hasan Nov 6, 2015
  • The challenges of a BYOD are great, indeed, one of them being the necessary 'toolkit' that students have on their devices. While more and more tools move to the cloud, teachers are most comfortable in the classroom when every student has the exact same tool, as then it's easier for the teacher to 'control' what's going on in the classroom, and not spend time troubleshooting tech issues as much. On the other hand, if students come to school with all tools that allow them to produce and create the kinds of media that is expected of them by the teacher, does it matter on what platform and device they create this on? - tommi.svinhufvud tommi.svinhufvud Nov 8, 2015
  • I have worked in BYOD and non-BYOD int'l schools and both schemes offer a lot of impact for international schools. I see BYOD in international schools as being an amplification of the benefits and challenges of BYOD in domestic schools. With the transitory nature of students and the multilingual of students, we find devices that are highly personalized and diverse. This allows for deep ownership of learning - a key for 1:1 - but also major challenges in unified platforms for teaching and repair/maintenance. What it suggests to me is that schools need to move towards cloud services whenever and wherever possible so the device becomes merely a content to resources for learning. - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I think it's important for schools to provide a framework for the BYOD program. Clear rules and regulations need to be set out ahead of time. Furthermore, I think it's best when the schools provide the devices for the students. When students bring in their own from home, then it's sometimes difficult to ensure compatibility between devices. - uzay.ashton uzay.ashton Nov 3, 2015
  • I concur with Uzay above with one caveat: students could bring their own devices IF minimum specifications are met and enforced. Allowing for choice within a limited framework might help. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 5, 2015 I agree with this also. At our school we have a BYOL program from grade 7 and up and then provide other devices (chromebooks, ipads) to the grades below and to some degree to grades above). Essentially, BYOD is great as it avoids the issue of having to spend huge sums on devices students often already have, but the methodology must be considered as for example, going byod and allowing an ipad to be the device in the 11/12 grade is a mistake due to the limited nature of the device and inability of the student to keep up with the rest of the class who have a more capable device.- David.collett David.collett Nov 6, 2015
  • One challenge is the devision of personal and work life. Everything we do while using a device leaves artifacts behind, and there are implications for using a personal device in a work setting that many people (especially the less tech oriented people) may not foresee.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 4, 2015
  • I think that network infrastructure is the most important when it comes to BYOD. Will every user get the same experience? Not likely. As long as this doesn't diminish the learning, there will be no issue. However, network infrastructure (and protections) may be as important as minimum requirements for devices. - mark.mcelroy mark.mcelroy Nov 9, 2015
  • I disagree with minimum specifications as devices really just need to get on the network or Internet. With cloud based collaboration, data storage, and media management you really just need a device from the last 3-4 years to be productive. What needs to be considered is network infrastructure to handle load, security, and policies for usage at home and at school. - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • I think the impact could be tremendous. Most students already know more about how best to use these devices...sometimes I feel like I am learning from them. It's a great way to use social media in the classroom, too, especially since you can see exactly what the students have posted in real time. In terms of creative inquiry, I think there is a lot of untapped potential here. It's one of those areas where I truly believe it's important for educators to update their skills at least once a year through a professional tech workshop. One that I have been attending for the past couple of years is the Google Apps Summit here in Singapore. I have learned so much in such a short time, but even better, I feel inspired to bring in my newfound tech knowledge into my classroom right away. - uzay.ashton uzay.ashton Nov 3, 2015
  • If the infrastructure is there to support it (namely robust wifi and cloud-base content creation tools), I think BYOD will have a positive impact. The students will be using the devices they are familiar and comfortable with, they won't have to manage personal and school issued devices, and schools will be able to reallocate funds away from costly hardware refresh on laptops/tablets and use it for other innovative tools (3D printers, specialized A/V gear, VR headsets, etc.). Students also learn valuable skills when they have to deal with getting different devices/formats/platforms to work for them.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 4, 2015 Agreed. Familiarity and personal ownership should increase comfort level and responsibility. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 5, 2015
  • Naturally, the biggest impact of this is that the reduced cost should allow for bringing affordable technology to schools and students who are not financially able to make a big investment in the technology. Potentially, a BYOD program could also help shift the focus in the classroom away from the technology, and more towards learning creatively. No longer will we run tutorials on how to use iMovie or GarageBand, but instead ask students to produce a movie or a song with the tools they most like to use. - tommi.svinhufvud tommi.svinhufvud Nov 8, 2015
  • This will truly change the way teaching occurs, even if the standard way school works doesn't change right away. Right now, it is still the norm for technology to be a tool that is learned and used. The teaching practice (feedback loops, formative assessment, collaboration, providing authentic audiences, inclusivity, etc.) is still the same, regardless of technology. However it is often that teachers mold their activities to the tool, rather than use a agile tool to augment the activity.
  • I have presented on this in the past. I feel that the ownership of the device has strong potential to personalize learning at a very deep level. The students have full control over their devices which adds a number of non-academic competencies. However, the inconsistency of device and platform can be a hurdle of innovation for teachers as they worry about spending time managing the gap between windows/mac, mobile/laptop. Here is the link to my presentation http://bit.ly/1MFGmTh - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • International School Manila is BYOD from the 7th grade up and has been for the last 2-5 years.
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  • My past school, German European School of Singapore, was a BYOD for both our IB and German sections. We reduced requirements down to a keyboard, internet connection, and virus protection. Our challenges of support with multilingual computers was "fun." I was there for four years. - matt.harris matt.harris Nov 13, 2015

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