A Journey Through Technology

Week 9: Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?

on July 15, 2016

This week we are looking at BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, policies and whether or not every school needs one. First, we should look at what BYOD actually means. BYOD refers to “students using personally owned devices in education settings” (Bring your own device, 2016). According to Holeywell (2012), in 2011, a school district in Georgia became one of the first in the country to implement a BYOD policy. He goes on to share survey results from a study in 2012 that showed 44% of K-12 districts both in the US and the UK allowed students to use their devices on the school networks. But why are schools allowing students to bring their own devices and use them in the classroom? Principal Robert Dodd, quoted by St. George (2014) said of new generation millenial teachers, “They’re comfortable with technology in their own learning, and that is trickling down to being able to use technology effectively for their students’ learning,” Teachers that are currently entering the education scene are becoming more comfortable with technology, so they want to use technology to help their students learn. But why do students need to bring their own devices? Why don’t schools provide them?

“Ushering classrooms into the 21st century is an expensive undertaking, but painful budget cuts have made purchasing tablet computers, iPod Touches, Kindles and other devices unfeasible…” (Chadband, 2012) School districts recognize that students need to use more technology in the classroom, but unfortunately, that technology can easily be out of reach as education funding becomes tighter and tighter all across the country. Does this mean school-provided technology is out of reach for all districts? Of course not. However, more and more districts across the country are turning to BYOD policies to help fill the technology gap.

There are many concerns that parents, teachers, and administrators have when it comes to BYOD policies. According to St. George (2014) those concerns include the devices becoming a distraction, overuse of student data plans, equity issues, and dealing with students that don’t have a device to bring. I tried having students bring their own devices this past year for use with PollEverywhere, and had some issues because not all of my students had a device to bring. Some districts are dealing with this by purchasing devices for each student to use at school. (St. George, 2014)

Another issue is that teachers may not know how to troubleshoot all of the different devices students may bring in to class. Districts may not have the funding to train teachers on all of the different devices, and simply implementing a BYOD policy without training the teachers would not be very effective. (Chadband, 2012) “With the proper policies and ground rules in place – and the program doesn’t exist merely to cut costs and corners – BYOD can work for educators and students.” (Chadband, 2012)

So, do all districts need a BYOD policy? I do not think so. Some districts could really benefit from a BYOD policy, assuming it is properly implemented, but other districts that can afford to provide devices for students could see similar results. If the goal is to get a device in each student’s hand, districts should research and make the decision on whether a BYOD policy is the right choice for them.

References

Bring your own device. (2016, July 13). Retrieved July 15, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bring_your_own_device

Chadband, E. (2012, July 10). Should Schools Embrace “Bring Your Own Device”? Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/

Holeywell, R. (2013, September 3). BYOD Policies, Growing More Popular, Create Challenges for Schools. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.governing.com/blog/view/gov-byod-policies-create-school-challenges.html

St. George, D. (2014, September 14). Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/stem/schools-move-toward-bring-your-own-device-practices-to-boost-student-tech-use/2014/09/14/4d1e3232-393e-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html

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6 responses to “Week 9: Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?

  1. unicyclepro says:

    Interesting you don’t think schools need a BYOD policy. Two of the biggest issues you brought up is decreasing funding, and the fact students want to use something they are familiar with. I think if we are going to allow students to use their own device, there needs to be policy, or at least a protocol of how a school’s network will deal with non-school tech. Our school has at least two networks. One for student accounts that kids can log onto with school tech (computer lab, school laptops, Chromebooks, etc.), and another that is limited Internet for all those non-school devices such as personal laptops, tablets, iPads, and of course smartphones. Unless there is funding for students to be provided with devices, you have to plan, prepare for, and expect more and more students to BYOD. There is a high cost to maintain, repair, and provide tech devices. I can’t see an easier way to allow more students access than BYOD. Write a policy now and prepare for the future. You can at least have a policy of what types of BYOD students can bring, and describe minimum specifications for access to school networks.

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    • Sarah K says:

      I don’t think all schools need BYOD policies, but I do see where some schools can really benefit from them. I don’t think districts should default to BYOD without properly researching the best policy ideas first. If they can afford to provide devices for students, then BYOD wouldn’t be necessary.

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  2. waclawskid says:

    You make a good point about having to trouble shoot all of those devices. This can be a huge issue. Trying to give directions to specific software can also be an issue because each device has a different desktop and operating system, This is especially difficult for younger students. Here is a link to an article on 1-to-1 computer initiatives and some additional issue that come up with these programs.. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/feb11/vol68/num05/One-to-One_Laptop_Programs_Are_No_Silver_Bullet.aspx

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  3. I can relate as a teacher to being a little weary of using tech ones does not fully understand. This has been my stance with many of these emerging technologies that we have been investigating for this class. There are few select tech tools that I am working myself into but it is such a slow process. My fear is by the time I figure one out, it will be out of date like so many things that I still enjoy using.

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  4. Hi Sarah. When I first responded to this question I think I sided with your viewpoint–that districts don’t need BYOD policies, but then I read Melissa’s blog post. She said something along the lines of ‘every school needs a BYOD policy, even if it states that these devices aren’t allowed in the classroom.’ This really made sense to me-there should be some sort of a policy. I’m beginning to lean toward it being implemented at the teacher’s discretion, but you’re absolutely right. We need to consider the school population. I teach in a Title 1 district and we have a 1 to 1 laptop policy for all MS and HS students. For us, this works very well. Students are familiar with the technology and use the same computer throughout their HS years. During HS they are allowed to take the computers home and to school, which helps to extend learning past the walls of the classroom. Every student has access to a computer regardless of their home situation. Like you said, districts need to decide what is right for them. For us, this seems to be the right decision.

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  5. daysha2016 says:

    Teachers having to trouble shooting devices is a big issue. In older grade levels I don’t think it will occur as often because peers will be able to help. However, sometimes peers may think they know what they are doing and make matters worse! This could lead to a very angry parent.

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