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What Teachers Need to Know about BYOD ( Bring Your Own Device ) Trend in Education

BYOD is the catch phrase in the 2012 educational technology spheres. This acronym stands for " Bring Your Own Device ", I am pretty sure you might have heard of this new trend because wherever you turn you hear people talking about embracing it. I actually have been reading a lot about it to the point that I deem it important that I share with you some of what I understood from BYOD .


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Bring Your Own Device or BYOT ( Bring Your Own Technology ) has started in the business world with corporations encouraging their employees to bring their own technology devices such as  laptops to use in the work place. This was a strategy to cut down on technology costs and spendings because of the financial crisis the world has witnessed in the recent couple of years. The strategy worked quite well and without even knowing it, it moved to education and so many school districts are embracing it.

BYOD in education refers to students bringing their own technology devices  (  smartphones, tablets, and laptops.  ) to  school for educational uses. This was initially started by college students, but it soon spread to K-12 education. Schools that used to depend on government funds to provide technology that students would need for the school day , are now turning that responsibility to the parents by asking them to purchase the technology devices needed for schools, which, fortunately enough, most  students actually own. This would cut down on schools' huge yearly technology expenditure. But the pertinent question here is : does this BYOD work ? Does it improve students learning ?


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Advantages of BYOD in education

I know there are many disadvantages to BYOD but let us be optimistic and look at the filled side of the cup. BYOD has several pluses in education such as  :

1- Education is intertwined with finance and this is clearly visible in case of financial crisis when districts start cutting down bugets. Students suffer because they are deprived of certain things they have taken for granted in their learning. Let me give you an example , here in Nova Scotia ( Canada ) the provincial government has made several cuts in the budget it spends on education. These cuts have a direct impact on the quality of education students  receive.Imagine with me students with permanent disabilities who used to be assisted by PSAs ( Personal Students Assistants ) will now find themselves alone struggling to learn on their own because many of these PSAs will be laid off.Teachers can not do anything about it because students with special needs need a lot of attention and care which teachers alone  could not afford especially in a large classroom with 26 students . The same applies to technology expemditure at schools ; it will also be affected but with the use of  BYOD  strategy a lot of education dollars will be saved to be spent on other resources. So students bring their own devices, schools pay for the expenditure of the textbooks, apps, and other online programs.

2- Having technology everywhere in the classroom and not only in the computer lab is an amazing experience for both teachers and students. Learning can be largely enhanced by these technology devices students use. We will have a multi-modal learning style or what is technically called Blended Learning where students can learn using : etextbooks, videos, educational apps, online research, and many other digital learning tools ( photography, word processing, desktop publishing ...ect).






3- The 21st century education requires a set of digital skills that traditional instruction alone could not provide. BYOD can help students aquire these skills and elicit more engagement and motivation essential for the increase of the learning outcomes.

4- Another advantage is that students will be able to use the same computing device in home and in school. This means that they will have access to all the digital resources that they were accessing in school at home as well.


Reasons why should schools embrace BYOD


Here are some reasons why schools should seriously start embracing BYOD :


  • Todays students are digital natives. They are born with technology and grew up using it in their everyday life. They learn and live with technology and ofcourse they bring it to school so why not leverage its power ?

  • The print and technology-based learning resources the schools own are not enough to cover all students technological needs, making the shift to BYOD can save money, extend access, and improve engagement.

  • Students facing school bans and inhibitions find themsevs forced to sneak their devices into school. A BYOD environment , on the other hand, could promote a healthy and appropriate technology use.

  • BYOD can help in bridging the digital gap between low income students and higher income  ones. Schools can purchase enough access devices for low income students since others already can afford theirs. This will generate a flip from 3 or 4 students per computer to one or two devices per students over time

  • Expanded access yields expanded digital options and when every student has a full digital access , it provides the platform for improved access to effective materials , online resources and effective teachers.


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Myths about BYOD debunked

There are several misconceptions and false myths about BYOD, Lisa Nielson ( author of Teaching Gneration Text: Cell Phones to Enhance Learning ) has written a great article debunking all these myths and providing more resources on the importance of BYOD in education. Check out her article to learn more.


Here is a list of links to important resources on BYOD. Check them out to learn more.

1- Cybrary Man Links
2- Seven Questions for Bringing your Own Device to School
3- Web 2.0 tools for BYOD Programs
4- BYOD Food for Thought

Here is the above article embedded in Slideshare


3 comments : POST A COMMENT

  1. Thanks for sharing these great thoughts. It is so refreshing to see a very positive slant on BYOD. I am two terms into a BYOD programme with a year 5/6 class in New Zealand. The positives are just as you have explained. We have so much greater access to online learning for all. I have 19 out of 27 students with their own devices, meaning the five classrooms laptops are freed up greatly for others to use. The learners are developing control over their learning. They are developing ubiquitous learning - even learning, collaborating and posting online over their holidays. Daily we have cyber smart discussions talking about our online activity. The learners are really developing ownership of the programme, determining how and what they use to engage with their learning. I really do believe it is making a significant change to learning. The use of devices is enabling so much more. Thanks again for sharing.
    Anne K

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  2. Excellent summary. We are heading into year two after a successful BYOT pilot (i have a whole post on why it should be called BYOT). This year we are moving to 1:1 BYOT and providing financial aid to students who cannot afford the device of their choice (we still let them choose, just with some of our funds). The refocus on the activities of the classroom, the sharing of technological ideas from across the spectrum, and the change in involvement from teachers, students, and IT staff has been SO rewarding.

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  3. Well, I must say I am thankful to jump into this discussion nice and early before dozens of others have chimed in with their love of the idea. This whole concept just assumes so many things about what teachers are willing to do to make technology accessible to children without really stopping to evaluate whether all this tech is really necessary to begin with. A couple of articles to read before jumping on this bandwagon:
    http://cac.ophony.org/2009/11/09/back-to-basics-resisting-the-allure-of-web-technology-in-the-classroom/
    and this:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/06/math_learning_software_and_other_technology_are_hurting_education_.html
    Now, of course I'm using said technology to write and research this, I am a teacher, and I do use some tech resources in the classroom. But this is the limit. I am more than willing to take several steps down and remove technology to equalize the classroom for everyone rather than donate expensive personal equipment to a district that cannot come close to compensating me financially for the time and effort I put into the job. I say donate because I really do not want to lug equipment to a school where it may get damaged in the rough and tumble of classroom life, or stolen (had my iPod taken this last year), or generally worn down from extra use. There is no talk about how these devices would be protected against any of these things yet. I would rather rely on sound pedagogy and teaching techniques that withstand the test of time and can exist without being plugged in and taking more electricity. All this tech takes energy, people. Give it a rest!

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