How would it look in your classroom?
What is Bring Your Own Device or BYOD?
As the name might suggest, Bring Your Own Device is an education policy per which students are allowed to bring their own personal tech device to school to use in school or curriculum related activities. Something as simple as bringing your personal laptop that you use at home to work on a classroom assignment would count under your school’s Bring Your Own Device policy.
This policy was seen in Information Technology departments in corporates previously – where instead of banning personal mobile phones or laptops or tablets, offices instead embraced the use of these devices in the workplace in a regulated manner.
An obvious benefit of the Bring Your Own Device policy for educational institutions hesitant to embrace it is the reduction in infrastructure and technological costs. Students who are able to fund and use their own devices are able to do so safely under this policy, while limited funds are allocated to providing them to students who cannot.
Why should you Bring Your Own Device?
Detractors of this policy will point to the obvious security issue that arises when personal devices are allowed on campus at a school. And this is a good apprehension to have! Students personal safety and informational security is of the utmost concern for an educational institution. Not to mention the extensive personnel records, student records containing location and contact information, and other education-related information educational institutions store and provide access to.
However, it is poor long-term thinking to adopt an avoidance policy towards the use of such devices. We are living in a technologically driven world where increasingly – even in India – people’s digital identity is key to gaining access to services and information. To eliminate devices entirely is unfeasible.
The Bring Your Own Device policy offers a compromise by which the use of such devices are regulated and monitored for ideal usage. After security measures are implemented and processes for breaches are put in place, a majority of devices will be used in a non-malicious manner. It also helps teach younger generations about digital security and healthy use of technology at an early age. A double win for any educational institution that seeks to produce technologically adept learners ready for the real world.
Things to Remember Before You Bring Your Own Device to the Classroom
To start with, there is the establishment of ground rules for the use of devices in the classroom and out of it. In addition to school policy, it is advisable to implement a classroom level policy for their use. This could be ranging from courteous usage (turning off sound and ringers) to integrating the use of device into the curriculum, as seen with learning management systems that often offer added content that is dynamic in nature and runs congruent to the syllabus in the subject’s curriculum.
Second would be to establish which devices are allowed and not allowed. It is obvious that a gaming device would not contribute much to a student’s learning, barring specific use cases. A tablet, however, enables the sharpening of quick research skills, use of open source learning content, and a general familiarity with techniques and tools that your student would need in college or in the working world.
Finally, creating curriculums and infrastructure that support and promote the use of these devices enable a safe and easy experience with them. It is necessary to have buy-in from all stakeholders in order to ensure seamless and productive use of the device that has been brought into the classroom.