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BYOD in Schools – an inevitable evolution?

By David Wain National Practice Manager – Education, Data#3 Limited

[Reading time: 2:36 mins]

These days, it’s a fact of school life that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solutions are a part of the learning landscape. Today’s classrooms are evolving to take advantage of the potential of mobile technology devices to inspire learning and create independent, critical thinkers. However, with shrinking budgets, many schools are hoping to bring technology into the classroom without the costly burden of purchasing a device for every student.

The Challenges of BYOD

The challenges of BYOD are well documented and in working with schools at various points on the BYOD journey, it’s fair to say that the dramatic savings promised by moving to a BYOD model (of which there are many) are not necessarily materialising. For the schools that quickly moved to open BYOD models (any or many device types), the savings were there in the short term, but the results from a teaching and learning perspective have been debatable.

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Cartoon Source: Racing for Technology 2003, artist Jerry King, copyright belongs to Jamie McKenzie of From Now On Press.

 

Lessons are yet again being learned in the “race for technology” where technology is being implemented without robust consideration for the impact on IT infrastructure, IT teams or indeed how the change will contribute to improved teaching and learning outcomes.

 “BYOD will be great…costs go to parents and we won’t have to manage the devices!”

From our work in the sector, this has been a common theme from many schools and is often driven by leadership groups. In reality, what we are seeing is that many schools that have been on the journey for some time, they often started with this approach, but have now moved to a more prescriptive BYOD model (defined device types and specifications) and a “managed mobility” IT environment.

Managed Mobility

These environments not only provide high-density, enterprise grade Wi-Fi access, but also provide a low, and sometimes invisible, level of management across the devices. Managed mobility ensures security is maintained, requirements are met around duty of care and access to relevant learning resources are provided where and when students need them.

While the sector moves to more personalised and self-directed learning modalities, these environments can now deliver an individualised experience to end users based on a wide variety of persona-based attributes. These attributes might include the student cohort, their device type, location, time of day and even whether or not they are in an exam situation. A simple example is where acceptable use policies might be enforced for the user while the device is within school grounds and then relaxed or even removed when the student is at home or outside the school.

These management tools and policies can be fully automated and help schools deliver a personalised learning experience while maintaining a safe, secure and productive ICT environment.

 

Welcome to the Anywhere Classroom”.

This is the second in a three-part blog series, click to continue reading:

Part 1 – Developing an ICT plan that aligns to your school’s objectives 

Part 3 – The mobility vision is enticing, back how will your school get there?

Tags: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Education, K-12 Education, Mobility, The Anywhere Classroom

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