I do think that schools should have a BYOD policy, as long as it is feasible and they have the bandwidth available to accommodate it. I was a student teacher in a sixth grade classroom where the students were allowed to bring their own device on special days. However, it was often frustrating for the students because their programs and apps would not load. It was a reoccurring problem at our school, even on days when we didn’t have BYOD. According to Martini (2013), “Given most users carry more than one Internet connected device (i.e. smart phone and tablet), bandwidth consumption can easily quadruple overnight with a BYOD rollout. Combine this with the fact that more critical services are moving to the cloud such as online testing, attendance and payroll, managing bandwidth is a real concern.” However, I feel that if a school or a district were to officially roll out a BYOD program, they would have to address the need for additional bandwidth.
With the present budget shortfalls, there is a greater need for schools to implement a BYOD policy. In fact, “it seems like a lucrative idea, especially for schools that can’t afford to supply each student with a shiny new tablet or e-reader, but that doesn’t mean the concept hasn’t met its fair share of criticism. Some experts have been quick to call out BYOD flaws and even speculate that BYOD programs aren’t a long-term solution. Whether that’s the case is yet to be determined, but there have been some successful BYOD implementations” (Walsh, 2012). Personally, I am also concerned about implementing a BYOD program in schools. I worry about cyber bullying, games distracting from learning, theft, and the general safety of students because I will not be able to monitor all of the students all of the time. Even if I could monitor them all constantly, that does not teach students to be responsible with their devices.
I think planning is the most important part of the process, but it can be daunting when you are not sure where to start. K-12 Blueprint (2014) states, “The first step to planning a BYOD program is to engage the community in order to learn from their vision and achieve consensus. A BYOD program needs the support and buy-in of all parties involved, including parents, students, staff, and administrators. Before implementing BYOD, it is important to consider the school demographics to determine if it is a viable technology financing option. Parental support, average household income, and the percentage of students who already own a device all play a large role in the success of a BYOD program.” As with any new program or curriculum, there is a period of learning for teachers and students. The good news is that there are many resources to help schools and districts plan and implement a BYOD program.
K-12 Blueprint. (2014). BYOD Planning and Implementation Framework. Retrieved July 14, 2015, from K-12 Blueprint: http://www.k12blueprint.com/sites/default/files/BYOD-Planning-Implementation.pdf
Martini, P. (2013, December 22). 4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program. Retrieved July 14, 2015, from Teachthought: http://www.teachthought.com/technology/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/
Walsh, K. (2012, December 16). Making BYOD Work in Schools – Three School Districts That Have Figured it Out. Retrieved July 14, 2015, from Emerging Ed Tech: http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/12/making-byod-work-in-schools/