“Bring Your Own Device” Programs are Increasingly Popular in our Schools. What are the Key Factors in Successful Implementations?
Are you thinking about implementing BYOD in your school? Or have you already done so, and had to overcome some obstacles?
Businesses everywhere have been buzzing about the potential benefits that can be gained from an effective Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Some companies are already seeing results, including greater productivity among the workforce and happier employees who are satisfied to be using devices they are familiar with. While BYOD continues to evolve in the business place, the movement has also been gaining momentum in education.
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Many schools have 1-to-1 device programs, and requiring students to own a computer has been common on residential college campuses for years. BYOD is a natural extension of these practices. Indeed, more and more high schools and college campuses are “going BYOD”.
It should come as no surprise that 87% of college students consider what an institution offers in technology when choosing a school. There seems to be little stopping the spread of BYOD, and if you are considering, or recently launched, a program it’s helpful to consider successful BYOD policies, and practices for schools.
Ensure Adequate Bandwidth/Capacity
Having potentially thousands of devices connected to the wirelessly can become a real drain on a school’s resources. That’s why every school needs to make sure their infrastructure can handle the major demand that will be placed upon it. The infrastructure doesn’t just need to be capable of supporting the massive workload, it needs to be flexible to handle future growth, and reliable during peak hours of use.
If the Wi-Fi frequently fails or works poorly, students will quickly get frustrated and not only will your help desk by swamped, students will soon stop lugging their devices around, and the programs will ultimately fail.
Clearly Defined Policy
A clearly articulated and easily understood BYOD policy is essential to a successful BYOD program. Here are 11 Sample Education BYOT Policies To Help You Create Your Own (BYOT, with the “T” standing for Technology, is analogous to BYOD).
Clear Communication (with Teachers, Administrators, Students, and Parents)
Communication with students in the classroom is of the utmost importance when it comes to BYOD. This is where the teacher needs to clearly explain the rules regarding the use of the students’ devices. The rules may be set by the school, but if the teacher isn’t aware of them, and reinforcing them, they quickly become meaningless. Teachers and administrations need to be able to carefully explain what the ramifications are for breaking or bypassing the rules.
Teachers and Administrators need to be provided professional development so that they understand the potential of BYOD, what it enables them to do, and the rules and policies associated with the program. It also needs to be clear what to do when support is called for. Teachers should not be expected to be master troubleshooters – they are there to teach, not to be distracted by technical issues.
For students in K-12, parents should also be made aware of BYOD policies by way of a permission slip students have to get signed. This should help ease communication about issues when parent-teacher conferences come around.
It’s almost a certainty that students will at some point forget their devices at home. It happens to the best of us. Other cases may exist where students’ devices break or they simply can’t afford to get one. In any of these cases, schools should have an inventory of supplementary devices on hand so students without their own devices won’t be left out of the learning process.
If the same students seem to be forgetting their devices all the time, then it’s time to have a discussion with them about being more responsible, but if the occurrence is rare, having a backup device handy at all times is the perfect plan B. The ramifications for students who regularly forget devices should be clearly outlines in your BYOD policy.
Put Those Devices to use Having Students Create Content!
When it comes to using mobile devices, many students know plenty about how to consume content, but may not have much experience with creating it. If consumption is all they’re doing in the classroom, they are only achieving a fraction of their potential. A successful BYOD classroom program should place more of an emphasis on creation rather than consumption.
With all the capabilities present in today’s technology, it shouldn’t be a stretch to use it to create great content from the students’ own minds. There are plenty of great apps out there for this purpose, even for studying. Some examples of these apps include Flashcard Deluxe or Quizlet, where students take the tools available and create their own materials to study the topics and assignments teachers give to them.
By giving student the chance to create on their own, they will get much more out of the learning process, and your BYOD program will be more successful.
Are you using BYOD in your schools? What works, what doesn’t?
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Making BYOD Work in Schools – Three School Districts That Have Figured it Out
Student Created Content is an Exciting and Inspiring Learning Tool that Teaches Many Skills
Why Every Student Should Be In a 1:1 Classroom