BYOD Policies: Yay or Nay?

Two years ago I had a colleague who attended a staff meeting frustrated with her students using their cell phones in the classroom. She kept taking the cell phones away, but that wasn’t helping the situation. This was the last year at our school for this woman, who had joined the Peace Corps. My principal, who is quite the techie and has taught technology classes before, encouraged this teacher to have her students use these devices in a productive way in class. She was astounded. She simply had no idea of how to do this. At this time BYOD policies were still new but emerging further into the world of education. Since then schools in four states have adopted BYOD policies and more may be following (Lacey, K., 2014).

What exactly is BYOD? BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device and schools are creating policies for staff and students to use their personal mobile devices on school wireless to enhance academic instruction and rethink former cell phone bans in schools (Wainwright, A., n.d. & St. George, D., 2014). Wainwright (n.d.) lays out twenty pros and fifteen cons that come with developing a BYOD policy for your school. Some of the pros include: students have comfort with their own devices, it can be cost effective for schools, students may be more likely to continue learning after school hours, students’ notes can become more organized, students have limitless access to resources, teachers are more connected to parents and students, students have excitement for learning, and it allows for more personalized learning. Some of the cons include: overloading schools’ wireless networks, technology may become a status symbol for students, students may become easily distracted or forget to charge their devices, an increased possibility of theft, some students may not be able to afford devices, and applications may not be universal.

With more and more students bringing their own devices to school, I think it is necessary for every school to have a BYOD policy. Schools that have successfully implemented BYOD policies have explicit acceptable use policies or responsible use policies (Lacey, K., 2014). Students and parents must sign these policies and register their devices with the schools (students may register up to three devices). Students are also taught digital citizenship, which is different per grade level. Further, some schools include training for teachers to learn to use all the different devices they may encounter (Chadbard, E., 2012). A BYOD policy has to be implemented properly and security is critical; however, there are solutions to making a BYOD program successful (Martini, P., 2013).

Though not every student may own a device, I think it is essential to have a policy in place for those that do. Some schools purchase devices for the students that cannot afford devices (Lacey, K., 2014) I believe that having a BYOD policy in place is much more practical than a cell phone ban, especially since students are bringing their devices to school in spite of bans. As teachers we need to work with our students and show the educational value to their devices, rather than putting limits on them. Having an agreement and a BYOD policy will help our students become more successful.

Bibliography:

Chadband, E. (2012, July 19). Should schools embrace “bring your own device”? [neaToday]. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/

Lacey, K. (2014, June). BYOD success stories. District Administration. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/byod-success-stories

Martini, P. (2013, December 22). 4 challenges that can cripple your school’s byod program [Teacher thought]. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/

St. George, D. (2014, September 14). Schools move toward ‘bring your own device’ policies to boost student tech use. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/stem/schools-move-toward-bring-your-own-device-practices-to-boost-student-tech-use/2014/09/14/4d1e3232-393e-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html

Wainwright, A. (n.d.). 20 pros and cons of implementing byod in schools [Securedge networks]. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/20-Pros-and-Cons-of-implementing-BYOD-in-schools

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4 thoughts on “BYOD Policies: Yay or Nay?

  1. I think BYOD is great and could be really beneficial at the middle and high school level. You could use BYOD to have students answer poll questions, for research, listen to educational Podcasts, video conference to connect with guest speakers or pen pals.

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    1. BYOD policies can be valuable for schools lower than the middle and high school levels too. I have seen students in kindergarten bringing their tablets to school to use during recess. In today’s world, even younger children have access to devices. The trend I have seen is as students get older, they have more devices, for example a tablet and a phone. While that is not always the case for older students, it is a good idea to have a policy in place at all schools to provide assistance for when students bring devices to school.

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  2. Our school has a cell phone band and I think it’s a good idea because students at first were pretty good about it and now about 80% of students are and there’s less distraction. So that was my thought about two weeks ago before I started writing our BYOD policy blog, after researching, my opinion has changed quite drastically. I think the ban just causes students to rebel, they are told they can’t do something and they automatically want to do it, that’s just human nature. I think it would be much more beneficial if we told them they could keep their phone, but they school is their place of employment (I always tell my students school is their job) and they need to be aware of the rules and regulations or they get the consequences. We need to teach them how to properly use their phones, when it is ok and when it is not, because when they get to college, no one is going to show them, and then when they are in their future job they need to know how to be responsible. I think we really are doing them a disservice by not teach them when technology is really the way of the world these days.

    I think too, instead of a distraction, it could lead to less of a distraction. When I’m teaching history and we come up with an idea that needs to be further researched, I have my iPad projected on the screen and I’m the one looking up the information and reading and students seem to get off task. If they could be easily looking up the research on their iPads, tablets, or phones it would keep them more involved. If a few students didn’t have one it would be easy enough to have them team up with a classmate that did have a device with them. If the teacher is wandering the classroom, it would be easy to make sure they are researching and not playing games or texting. Plus, if you have a policy and students know the rules and they know to follow them or the exact consequences that will ensue, it doesn’t seem like there should be much of a problem. I would think students would want to follow the rules and keep their devices than lose them because they were doing their own thing, or at least that would be me as a student.

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  3. I agree that it is important to have a policy in place even if there is not an infrastructure yet. This concept is coming, whether we agree with it or not. I think it is time for districts to really consider the fact that personal devices are here to stay. I like the idea of looking for an answer outside of a book during a lesson. I think schools should already have the devices for students and should be implemented in the classroom. Rules for personal devices are simple to create, its really no different than talking in class, getting out of your seat, or chewing gum. With the right management in the classroom, it can be a useful tool for everyone. Great post!

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