What is BYOD?

The term BYOD, which stands for “Bring Your Own Device,” refers to the practice of students bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices with them to class. Intel coined the term in 2009, when the company observed that an increasing number of its employees were using their own devices and connecting them to the corporate network. Since then, this type of activity has become commonplace in workplaces all over the globe. The BYOD movement in education institutions is being driven by a major challenge that many institutions face — a lack of funds to support one-to-one learning, which is a systemic solution in which every student is provided a laptop or mobile device that can be used to support learning in and outside of the classroom. BYOD makes one-to-one easier by simply leveraging the devices that students already have. In practice, it has proven important to provide funds to support students in financial need, and to standardize on a small set of devices and software packages. In early studies, the act of a student using his or her own device for learning has proven to increase productivity and engagement. Tablet computing has accelerated the pace of BYOD, especially in higher education, where these smaller, less-expensive devices are seen as a better option than traditional laptops. With their ever-growing capabilities, tablets (which now include an expanding set of choices, such as the iPad, Galaxy, Nexus, and Surface), are well positioned for BYOD environments.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I think the most critical piece here is the impact on technology cost for any given school district. If students are encouraged to BYOD, district costs go down and educational possibilities go up. This also aligns with one of my personal crusades, teaching digital and media literacy as a 'language' comparable to any other language requirement. We as educators have a responsibility to ensure that our learners are armed with the best skill sets involving technology as they move into the future. Teaching them to use their own devices is a good, first start. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Jan 24, 2014
  • BYOD is a helpful response to addressing hardware and software cost issues, but successful implementation is dependent on having access to high quality technical people who can ensure the backend keeps working irrespective of which devices are accessing the bandwidth and online materials. In blended learning classrooms, teachers require sufficient IT knowledge to be able to accommodate students using different software systems to achieve similar outcomes. eg Microsoft Office and OpenOffice, although functioning in similar ways, also have small differences and interoperability can be challenging from time to time. Nonetheless, putting familiar technologies into the hands of students (akin to putting pens into children's hands), means that the students can focus on the content of their learning rather than the functionality of the technologies.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Jan 27, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 Couldn't agree more as any schools have had huge difficulties as they did not think through the infrastructural / connectivity / teacher professional learning implications.
  • - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Jan 30, 2014I've been doing a literature review to try to answer the question of what teachers need to know when students bring different devices. The conclusion I've come to is that teachers need to focus on the big picture - they need to know WHAT is possible in generic programs, e.g., all word processing programs can automatically create a table of contents, but they do not need to know HOW that is done. Instead, they need to make sure that students are exposed to the concept, then required to incorporate it in their work. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014 HOW students learn to do such a task on their own device requires the students to work together. (Some teachers will have a really hard time with that last part.) But how many teachers even now know that word processing software does automatic tables of contents and expect their students to use it? Expecting the school tech staff to do any maintenance or assistance on student devices is a sure way to make BYOD unsuccessful. Instead, the school needs to focus on robust infrastructure and either cloud-based or web-accessible collaboration tools. The only management they should do is connecting devices directly to the Internet, just as in a coffee shop - except all traffic will still pass through the school filter. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014
  • Two things are critical here, the first being a robust wireless network to support multiple devices - and this means possibly 2 or more devices per student; the second being providing support in the form of professional development to educators to reduce the negativity around having different types of devices and lack of uniformity amongst hardware and software. The goal is for fluid learning and alternative approaches and freedom to do both of these - for example, to create and submit a text document a number of programs and approaches can be taken, students can make decisions about this based on the device they own. BYOD is very relevant to K-12, and a necessary step. For those schools who have not yet embraced a 'laptop' program, this is a good leap-frog alternative. - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 27, 2014- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 3, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014
  • Agreed with all the above. The cautionary tale is that BYOD needs to be thought through very well by each school. What technical support are/can you provide without voiding warranty. Subject specific softwares eg inDesign for the students working on the yearbook. How do you license for individual students laptops and then remove when they finish year book? The impact of a robust and secure network cannot be stressed enough. Intelligent softwares to manage the networks and managers/technicians/directors empathetic to the needs of learning also play a crucial role in BYOD.- mtaylor mtaylor Jan 28, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014
  • I think BYOD is an important part of the picture. However, there will alwayds be a need to support in one way or another the need for specialized software as Michael pointed out above. Online testing will also drive the requiement for some kind of technology whether that is a real device or the server platform required to support a virtual device. It is also important to match the device to the task spectrum, from consumption to creation. You can certainly write a chapter of a book on an iPhone ( I know folks who have done that), but that's a hard row to hoe.- mike.jamerson mike.jamerson Feb 1, 2014
  • - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014BYOD also accommodates the growing want for a personal experience. As each student brings their own device, they can be more active in designing their learning experience, and they can also help teachers who are not so comfortable with the technology part. It is a great way to have access to the 1:1 learning even when you're budget is not so big. That and not forgetting all that was said above!
  • BYOD is or quickly is going to become a reality for all districts and schools. I currently work in a district providing 1:1 iPads grades 5-8 and 1:1 laptops grades 9-12. What we find is that students are still brining and using their own devices to complement the district provided device. Understanding that two or three devices per use is going to be the norm is essential for district to plan for; infrastructure, instruction, and campus communities need to be ready for this reality. The most successful larger scale (more than a handful of classrooms) BYOD implementations I've seen typically focus upon a single or small number of acceptable devices. The benefit to this is the ability for teachers to feel comfortable with the curriculum they are utilizing without needing to feel like technology experts. With any BYOD or 1:1 program providing teachers extensive, comprehensive, training for teaching in a 1:1 environment is key. IT departments need to plan for robust wifi, we're finding two a/c access points per classroom, plus outdoor areas, is essential, as well as the switches, routers, and services to support huge volume. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 3, 2014 - roger.blamire roger.blamire
  • - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 4, 2014By now, we have realized that BYOD might be a sensible alternative to consider when resorting to technological solutions in the classroom. By using their personal devices students can and do tailor their learning. When devices are familiar and known by the end-user, it is believed that the amount of time spent trying to figure out the machine itself is reduced, which means that more time can be devoted to the learning experience. However, to think more about the value of BYOD initiatives, we must consider all the elements that are involved in the implementation of a BYOD culture in education. From MDM systems to a robust network and sound pedagogical strategies, putting a multiple device strategy into action is not exactly a piece of cake, but it does open doors to a more democratic use of technological solutions in the classroom. It shifts attention from the devices and enhances the applicability of the learning route that was chosen. BYOD is a positive change to the “computer lab” model and does its part when aiding students to make meaning of what is taught. Extending learning beyond the classroom via BYOD and engaging students through multipurpose portable devices can bridge the divide between diverse learning styles and enhanced learning opportunities. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014

  • - bobmoore bobmoore Feb 4, 2014You have to define what we mean by BYOD. The data simply does not support the assertion that a majority of districts can leverage BYOD to solve the 1:1 challenge. Look at the Pew report 2013 on Teens & Technology. http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media/Files/Reports/2013/PIP_TeensandTechnology2013.pdf.
  • - bobmoore bobmoore Feb 4, 2014There are two basic flavors of BYOD. The 1:1 model is rare in K12. The vast mahjority of districts that claim to have BYOD have what I refer to as the "Starbuks" model. If you have a device, you can bring it. In even many of these cases, students are severaly limited as to when and where they can use the devices.
  • BYOD is definitely a novel approach for many schools and districts who are stuck in "old school" infrastructure mindsets and policies. As others have pointed out, the critical issue is to think through how you secure buy-in, handle social issues for those who cannot afford devices and security issues. - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Feb 6, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Feb 9, 2014
  • BYOD is inevitable. The success of BYOD is substantially limited if students bring anything they want.- anton.inglese anton.inglese Feb 8, 2014- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Feb 9, 2014 - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Feb 9, 2014 K-12 has to adapt to the inevitable in this case, and ensure equity, privacy etc. Coming soon inevitably will be 'WYOD' - wear YOD - roger.blamire roger.blamire

  • I share the view that BYOD is inevitable even though it also relies on the awareness of school governing bodies on how to manage BYOD . It is so, based on the growing levels of ownership of mobile devices and subscriptions by learners, teachers and principals especially in disadvantaged communities. Sometimes it may not be their 'own' device. The device could belong to someone else but the mobile subscription could be owned and in these cases, the device is shared. It will likely evolve more strongly in the K-12 market in spite of current attempts at 1:1 roll out programs and may also serve to complement 1:1 programs in the fortunate cases where both are applied. In situations where BYOD is encouraged, schools from disadvantaged communities will still need to have mobi-kits to cater for learners and teachers who do not have access to mobile devices. BYOD strategies at school level requires careful planning with clear goals and acceptable use policies - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Feb 9, 2014- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Feb 9, 2014
  • BYOD is the cart before the horse in many districts. Everyone wants to be seen as doing something with technology, so buying a bunch of devices or letting students bring something in makes it look like you are taking action. Then teachers are forced to do something with all the devices, and you get lots of frustrated teachers, frustrated students, and even less enthusiasm for the technology. We focus on making sure the devices can connect to a network, but then we don't coordinate anything else. It is the equivalent of giving a student a book without teaching them how to read. The effort in BYOD has been on the device, when it needs to be on the curriculum and real integration to learning. With no guiding principals or assistance, BYOD is just another flashy program that will eventually collapse under it own weight.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • In NZ, BYOD is rapidly becoming a 'given' in many schools. But the issue of access and equity complicate the issue. Here, in a self-managing the school system, schools have to consider both the costing and management of supporting this (or helping their community to fund this) and also the wider vision for learning that BYOD seeks to enable. We are seeing this approach being tackled in a number of ways across the country but all with the aim of providing increased access.Key issues, though, are that in many schools the move towards BYOD happens before the bigger vision for learning and curriculum. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014
  • BYOD is sometimes confused with having no standards or plan for usage models. "The device doesn't matter" mentality can lead to innovation being stifled and a lowest common denominator of usages becoming the only expectations teachers can count on. For example, a cell-phone has a different ability for creative activities compared to a modern 2 in 1 laptop. In sum, standards that target intended and well thought out usage models really count for BYOD programs. - russell.beauregard russell.beauregard Feb 10, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The one issue that surfaces time and time again is how to assist students who *don't* have access to any devices or technology outside of the classroom. How can policy be created that creates a more equitable learning environment? Could concepts of a 'learning community' extend to sharing devices working collaboratively in PBL sceanarios so that the device or lack thereof is not an issue? - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Jan 24, 2014- mike.jamerson mike.jamerson Feb 1, 2014Great point. In our school we left 50 iPads in the library for students who don't have the device. They will be able to take it out for the day so they can participate in class. We are still figuring out how to have control over who takes it and make sure they return it.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 1, 2014 In a district I worked in we required the school to purchase and provide a device for any student without one. Despite some reservation that families would opt for a school device instead, most students brought their device, even when the borrowed device was better. Every student in the class must have a device for this to be successful. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 3, 2014
  • Personalised computing needs to be stressed for BYOD - personal ownership of the device while still able to access school networked and online resources - of course the move to full cloud computing is desired. - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 27, 2014
  • BYOD doesn't abrogate the organisation of its technology responsibilities. It shifts the focal point. A bank of 'loaner' computers for when a students is at the 'Apple Store'; workarounds when students fail to have required softwares; improving teacher classroom management in BYOD environments; utilising applications rather than products (ie 'Open a word processing document.' Rather than open Word or Pages)- mtaylor mtaylor Jan 28, 2014
  • The role of technical support officers for in-school BYOD, and how they can work with teachers to ensure that the technologies don't get in the way of the learning. Raises issues such as what skill set this person requires; what professional support they require; the organisational structures required to ensure teachers and students can focus on learning with technologies.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Jan 30, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014
  • Portugal implemented a 1:1 model that is a tremendous model for BYOD. The collaboration of government, industry, and families resulted in children having their own device. See the CoSN blog http://cosninportugal.wordpress.com/ for more information. - mike.jamerson mike.jamerson Feb 1, 2014
  • The value of BYOD is diminished when students can bring whatever they feel like. SYOD, or select your own (capable) device, is essential to meet the desired outcome.- anton.inglese anton.inglese Feb 8, 2014
  • BYOD needs a focus on something other than the device. Kids gather in common areas in schools, do we have an equivalent for them when they are online. We don't want them to write in the books, so we have them bring notebooks and give them a locker to hold everything. What is the equivalent to this in the BYOD program? How are homeworks/quizzes/tests/grades assigned/distributed/assessed in a BYOD world? It should not be the same a paper, yet we never discuss this aspect of the infrastructure for BYOD. This needs to be addressed.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • Agree with above points re: access, equity, affordability, and also the challenge of management of different devices in terms of learning design and professional learning. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014
  • A vital issue which is gaining traction here in NZ is that the value proposition for BYOD is the way it can enable a far more personalised, inclusive approach to learning design, given sufficient understanding of curriculum etc on the part of the school. For schools interested in UDL, BYOD can be the technological pathway that aligns with this vision. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • The sky's the limit. Students love their devices and are quite savvy with their use. If we're smart as educators, we ought to join with our students in their world of devices and move them forward responsibility into new adventures in learning. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Jan 24, 2014- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattosÃgreed!!!Very true!- guus guus Feb 2, 2014- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 3, 2014 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 8, 2014
  • Ownership of learning, independent inquiry, collaborative communities, 'unblocked' and 'unlocked' learning potential through digital fluency based on a customised device - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 27, 2014
  • Greater accessibility for the entire learning community. A shift from the traditional concept of 'computing' to which ever device I have right now will suit my needs (and I wont need to wait till I get back to my laptop). Once more improved productivity (note taking, commenting, reflecting, personal management)- mtaylor mtaylor Jan 28, 2014
  • Greater ability for students to collaborate and determine their own method to demonstrate learning and understanding. Greater inquiry into subject areas and learning. Teachers able to work with smaller groups of students in areas of need for those students. Ability for students to create more work, more rapidly, at a greater depth, thus covering and learning much more within a single year. [[skype:1391458417|1391458417]* - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 4, 2014Authorship and autonomy becoming the norm. When students see learning as part of their routines they will feel more and more welcome to take on the role of "prosumers" in the classroom. Much of the content will be co-produced by students and they will be able to solve problems that before were considered "not of their league".
  • Quicker realization of the ideals of personalized learning, with differentiation for the device to meet student preferences and needs.- anton.inglese anton.inglese Feb 8, 2014
  • BYOD should bring about the redesign of the school and classroom curricular infrastructure. If it doesn't, then there is a lot of room for improvement.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Feb 9, 2014
  • One other item to consider is what are the learning activities and content that can be deployed on these devices. Many times we worry about the device and how they connect, but do not spend enough time on the instructional shifts that occur inside and outside the classroom with these devices. Many schools need to spend more time on this area in the initial stages of their BYOD project. - GTDeYoung GTDeYoung Feb 9, 2014
  • Access to different modes of learning that support personalised approaches. Increased learner agency and democratic control over learning. Greater connection between home and school - and possibly a catalyst for reimagining what education might look like. There are also impacts that present challenge: cybersafety, cybersecurity, the need for digital literacies and curriculum that supports genuine leaner control. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?