The education system today is leaving no stone upturned to tap the enormous potential of mobile devices in educating new-age learners, who are given to the convenience of technology for practically everything, from connecting with people, to booking tickets, finding places, searching information, and what not! There’s just no end to the list of things one can do with a mobile device. To put it another way, the world today is a click away!
A major percentage of the users of mobile technology today are youngsters . They are basically digital natives who have grown up with technology. A mobile device is the best companion of toddlers in nuclear families, who love to play with gadgets more than toys. It is not anything else but mobile devices that they demand from their parents when they step into adolescence. No wonder most youngsters today have their own mobile phones and laptops.
The scenario today is conducive for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD),a practice followed by most educational institutions today to leverage its resources and not buy a separate device for each student. As the name suggests, students are asked to bring their own mobile devices (laptops, tablets, ipads or smartphones) to work with in classrooms. After digital classrooms it is BYOD that is gaining popularity these days.
It has been observed that students feel comfortable using their own devices. This is why schools nowadays allow students to use their own devices for taking notes, collaborating on class assignments, conducting Internet research and using cloud-based applications.
Some of the other benefits of implementing the BYOD scheme are listed below:
- Increase in student participation.
- Student-driven learning.
- Increase in student collaboration and communication.
- Saving on device cost.
- Personalized instruction.
- Innovative and fruitful learning method.
Increase in student participation: Students who enjoy using technology can now use it for a more meaningful purpose: doing their classwork.
Student-driven learning: Students have greater autonomy over what they are learning because they are comfortable and familiar with using their own devices. It is easier as well as quicker to find information in one’s own device..
Increase in student collaboration and communication: With the implementation of theBYOD initiativestudents can communicate with teachers virtually and collaborate with other students on assignments, projects and content creation with the help of their devices.
Saving on device cost: A school saves money on technology cost since students bring their own devices.
Personalized instruction: Teachers can use digital media to meet the different learning requirements. By allowing the students to follow the multimedia lessons on their mobile devices, the teachers let them learn at their own pace. Homework, educational games and projects can be taken care of in the classroom itself since information can be accessed anywhere and anytime simply with the swipe of a finger.
Innovative and fruitful learning method: Schools which have incorporated mobile computing devices into their curriculum have benefitted greatly from doing so. BYOD initiative has helped teachers convert their direct instruction methods into project- and inquiry-based learning opportunities for their students. This pedagogical approach helps students learn by having hands-on experience and gives them ownership of their education.
- Since most of the teachers and students own mobile computing devices such as laptops, ipads or smartphones nowadays, it is easy to implement the concept of BYOD. The school can lease out devices to the students who cannot afford them.
- With cost-cutting being an important agenda for educational institutions, the cost-effectiveness of BYOD makes it instantly popular as a teaching methodology.
- Students are thrilled with the idea of being allowed to carry their devices to school. What’s more, they now put it to good use, that of educating themselves. Moreover, they also save on the time which they would spend getting the hang of a different device.
- This strategy may cause a divide between students. The devices might become a status symbol, and students who don’t have them can feel disadvantaged.
- Equipment disparity is likely to cause technical issues.
- Security is a major concern. Students may easily get distracted and try to gain access to blocked websites.
Here is a step-by-step guide to planning and implementing a BYOD initiative:
1. Engage the Community: A BYOD strategy needs the support and buy-in of all parties involved, such as parents, students, staff, and administrators. It is imperative to consider the school demographics to determine whether implementing BYOD is a viable technology financing option. The following community stakeholders are involved in the planning process:
• School Administration
• Board members
2. Develop a Team: A well-defined team is required to carry the objectives of a district forward. This team is responsible for the success of BYOD in a school district. The team may consist of the following members:
- Core Team
- Assistant Principals
- Parents, Community Members and Board Members.
3.Develop the Physical Infrastructure: Contact local vendors and network specialists to determine the best infrastructure and budget.
4. Develop the Software Infrastructure: Plan accordingly and provide the software tools that can be used by students on any device.
5. Develop a Portal: Create a central location that collects all the software tools.
6. Develop an Acceptable Use Policy: Mention the appropriate online behaviour in positive terms while specifically highlighting and prohibiting inappropriate behaviour.
7. Build a Curriculum: Build a curriculum that supports the use of technology, such as:
- Personal support
- Course companion sites
- Digital citizenship
8. Use of Devices: The following should be taken into consideration:
- Mobile devices
- School-owned devices
- Device recommendations and purchasing guidelines
9. Facilitate Ongoing Professional Development: Formulate a plan to facilitate ongoing professional development and extensive training for the staff members responsible for implementing the strategy and procedures on a daily basis.