Bring Your Own Device: Pros & Cons

Ultimately the consensus seems split: either the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) sends shivers of excitement, or shivers of trepidation. Rightfully so. While BYOD offers many positives to the classroom, including giving students the opportunity to learn to use the devices in a positive constructive way, BYOD also invites a lot of potential pitfalls in the school, should precautions not be set in place ahead of time.

Don’t let this scare you off though! Take a read and see for yourself if the pros outweigh the cons

BYOD: Tell me about the positives first:
– Less need to purchase and update technology for the school.
– Student tech is likely more up to date than that of the schools.
– Students already come with a familiarity to the device, so less time may need to be spent training student(s) to use device.
– “Anytime, anywhere” allows for students to continue using devices outside of the school day, increasing potential educational time (flipped classroom activities).
– Students have the opportunity to use their tech in a responsible way that isn’t solely focused on social media or gaming.

BYOD: Ok, I’m ready for the cons:
– Equity: Students without devices, or access to devices outside of school need to have equitable access in the classroom, and outside. The use of a school laptop provided to them during the school hours where other students would be using BYOD, and access to an afterschool laptop program are both acceptable ways of meeting this issue head on.
– WI-FI access: Schools/School Boards would need to offer WI-FI to any students bringing in their own device.
– A variety of devices exist, and no teacher is expected to be an expert in troubleshooting. Students bringing in their devices would be expected to know how to log in to the school’s WI-FI, and to navigate their device. Students would also be expected to find comparable programs to those being used in the classroom, if their device was not compatible. Of course, staff should be already making the attempt to use online pages or apps that are cross-platform compatible to avoid such issues.

BYOD: That wasn’t so bad… Here’s the most challenging part:
– Using technology in the classroom is an earned right. Students must first show that they are responsible and can be trusted to use the technology in a positive way.
– Creating a comprehensive BYOD contract that lays out the expectations and the consequences, as well as break down of what the school will won’t be responsible for (damage to devices, compatibility problems, etc.)
– Offering a comprehensive Digital Citizenship curriculum so students can learn how to be, as well as understand the context of being a good digital citizen.

Photo Credit: CC Blake Patterson