6a01a3fcba138d970b01a3fcd95cda970b-800wiGuest writer: Adam Andrews

 Adam is a teacher and blogger from Boston.

 The ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) trend sounds like a great concept, and many employees love the idea of connecting to work via their own tablets and smartphones any time they want. BYOD in the workplace push is certainly growing, as witnessed by a survey of 1,000 ZDnet and TechRepublic readers earlier this year which concluded that 44 percent of companies already have BYOD policies and 18 percent plan to add them in the next year. Though more employees are requesting this approach, IT directors still struggle with issues like security and compliance.

But how does BYOD work when it’s taken from the office and brought into the classroom? Every student could potentially be equipped with a mobile device, and a teacher could interact with them in novel ways. It’s new, untested waters for students, educators and technical support teams who are all trying to figure out effective ways to learn.

If your school or district is considering BYOD, several questions need to be answered:

Who Supplies the Devices?

Concordia University’s Journal of News and Resources for Teachers says that some schools provide all the devices, others allow students to bring theirs from home. The site suggests that furnishing all the devices may be a smarter option to avoid potential conflict from one wealthier student having the latest and greatest tech while another student uses something older from home or a loaner from school.

How Much Money Will Really Be Saved?

Schools can save a big chunk of change by no longer having to order new batches of textbooks, since potentially the curriculum can be ordered, downloaded and shared via a device like an iPad or other tablet. But there are other possible costs — create and maintain a network, increase bandwidth, train teachers, provide updates or pay for app downloads. If the school provides devices they also need to pay to maintain, update or repair them.

What About Enforcement?

Allowing students to bring their devices into the classroom doesn’t guarantee that they will be used properly. Students may be tempted to play games or surf the Web during class. Even worse, as discussed in a USA Today piece this fall, students could potentially use phones or devices to text friends or even cheat on tests. School IT departments may be able to accommodate this by finding or requiring devices that can be configured to be separated into personal use and “school use.” The ability to be securely split into different topic/ownership areas is crucial to any school BYOD program.

Schools should monitor students’ activity while on school devices, but extra protection should be taken to protect from hackers and data breaches.BullGuard is an industry-leading internet security service. It has an easy-to-use interface that has a low impact on system resources. BullGuard auto scans for viruses and malware to keep school devices secure, clean and running smoothly.

What Happens In Case Of Lost, Stolen or Broken?

Accidents happen in the business world sometimes. But in the hands of younger kids, the likelihood for accidents may increase significantly. If a student breaks a device, are they financially liable for its repair or replacement? What are their options for completing assignments if they have a broken device? The 21st Century Blog, which discusses modern educational challenges, suggests having the students and their parents sign a detailed agreement. Ben Johnson, a principal and blogger with Edutopia, said his school provides iPads to all students. If one is broken, the family either has to pay to replace it, buy an insurance policy and pays the deductible, or have the student work off the debt all year through community service/work study.

Article by Adam Andrews

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One thought on “4 Questions Schools Should Ask Regarding Implementing BYOD

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