As technology becomes more readily available to the masses, students have more access to devices at home in addition to the classroom, leading to bring your own device (BYOD) models becoming a more viable option for schools to introduce. Schools should implement a BYOD programme to support student learning in a 21st-century classroom environment and specify the device the school has chosen for consistent learning experiences. When adopting a BYOD model, schools must look at a whole-school approach to learning and ensure policies, educational opportunities and effective infrastructure are in place for the success of the programme.
Adopting a BYOD model provides a school with the opportunity to cultivate a community of responsible learners in a safe educational environment. With the ability to connect online anywhere, anytime, it is normal for some hesitation about online safety (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 15). However, a BYOD programme implemented in conjunction with a digital citizenship programme educates students on how to engage with their devices in a responsible and resilient manner. Schools should tailor their digital citizenship programme to their school’s needs while accessing resources such as Common Sense Media and MediaSmarts. Through this, students gain knowledge about cyberbullying, digital footprints, safety, security, information literacy and referencing (Common Sense Media, 2015). A school-wide acceptable use policy for devices should be created for all students to abide by to support the cultivation of a positive online community (Smith, Worrel-Burrus, Davis, Newman & William, 2014, p. 18).
A BYOD programme allows students to gain a sense of responsibility for their devices (Burns-Sardone, N., 2014, p. 192). This responsibility raises the expectations students have of themselves and how they conduct themselves online. Schools may wish to implement a BYOD programme beginning in middle school where students are at an age to handle caring for, transporting and maintaining an expensive device, and are more knowledgeable about appropriate online choices. Prior to this, a school should support technology integration through school-owned devices at the primary level.
In addition to a proactive approach with students, schools must critically analyse their infrastructure to ensure it supports their BYOD programme. A benefit to BYOD is that the onus of the cost of the device is on the student and not the school, allowing school funding to be allocated for internet, resources and infrastructure for the programme. With any BYOD programme, the school needs to place high importance on training teachers in the device, online safety, learning platforms and effective technology integration to support students appropriate use, which ensures quality teaching practice throughout the school (Digital Education Advisory Group, 2013, p. 7). In addition, allocated IT support personnel can enhance the adoption and implementation of BYOD. These staff members have an important role in regards to protecting student data, connectivity, upgrades, firewalls and maintenance. A BYOD programme is effective when continually reviewed and necessary modifications are made to keep current with changing technology.
A BYOD model changes the class environment through ease of mobility, access to online resources, and assessment tools (Digital Education Advisory Group, p.5). Through the many available online resources, student learning can be differentiation to best meet the needs of the students (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 26). No longer is there a need for one-size fits all learning where students can be extended or supported with a few clicks and inquiries can flourish. Because of this, learning becomes more personalized and student-centred, increasing student engagement and performance (Digital Education Advisory Group, p.7). When students each have their own device, they become active participants in learning in school and at home (Ackerman & Krupp, 2012, p. 35).
Through the use of technology, students develop 21st-century skills that are transdisciplinary. BYOD provides students access to the tools and resources to collaborate online through programmes such as Google Apps for Education and Skype. BYOD helps students to easily inquire into their queries, allowing the teacher to transition to the role of a facilitator (Pangos, n.d). Students are able to use technology to create content using multimedia and higher-order thinking while using various resources to stay organised and communicate ideas in a multitude of ways.
There will always be challenges such as student safety online, the cost for students, ensuring the infrastructure can handle the adopted programme, professional development with BYOD programmes. However, all of these can be overcome with appropriate planning, guidelines and policies, and frequent review to ensure the all-encompassing programme continues to best support the needs of students.
Technology in education is evitably growing with BYOD leading the way (Thomson, 2012 as cited in Chen, Li, Hoang, Lou, 2013, p. 2). By allowing a BYOD programme to support an inquiry-based, constructivist approach to learning, students become responsible digital citizens and schools look closely at the effectiveness of their infrastructure. Students learn valuable 21st-century skills, create, curate content and collaborate globally. Together with a whole-school approach for next-generation learning, a BYOD programme provides students with an educational experience that is highly engaging, challenging and preparing them for their future.
Ackerman, A. S., & Krupp, M. L. (2012). Five components to consider for BYOT/BYOD. International Association for Development of the Information Society, 35-41.
Burns-Sardone, N. (2014). Making the case for BYOD instruction in teacher education. Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, 11, 191-201.
Chen, H., Li, J., Hoang, T., & Lou, X. (2013). [Working paper]. Security challenges of BYOD: a security education, training and awareness perspective,1-8.
Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Digital citizenship scope & sequence. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/scope-and-sequence
Digital Education Advisory Group. (2013). Beyond the classroom: a new digital education for young Australians in the 21st century. Retrieved from http://apo.org.au/files/Resource/deag_beyond_the_classroom_2013.pdf
Pangos, T. (n.d). The Future of Education: BYOD in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/09/the-future-of-education-byod-in-the-classroom
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching [Sixth Edition].
Smith, M. M., Worrell-Burrus, P., Davis, M. K., Newman, M. J., & William, K. (2014). Are we ready for BYOD?. Journal of Effective Schools Project, 21,16-23.