BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, has gained national attention in the past few years and awareness is increasing as more schools implement their own programs. BYOD programs typically make use of Internet-capable devices such as laptops, tablet computers and smart phones. A BYOD initiative involves a structured policy in which students are asked to bring these devices to school for use in the classroom. The difference between a formal BYOD program and a simple “you can bring your laptop” program is the expectation that students actually bring their devices. If a school makes a conscious effort to utilize BYOD teaching and learning strategies, teachers should be able to count on a portion of students bringing their devices to class.
The Pew Research Center reports that as of 2012, 78% of American teens had a mobile phone, 37% had a smartphone and 23% had a tablet computer. A Gartner study found that 55% of U.S. households in 2012 owned a laptop. we can see that portable computing power could be a sizable asset within our schools. A policy that allows for students to bring their own devices into the classroom opens up classrooms to take full advantage of the benefits of quick and frequent access to achievement-boosting technology without shouldering the cost of a 1-to-1 notebook or tablet implementation.
Let’s take a look at the three most impressive benefits of a BYOD initiative.
1) Technology integration boosts student achievement.
When technology is integrated into classrooms effectively, student achievement soars. Test scores go up by as much as 36% in math and 33% in reading as a direct result of more technology being correctly used in the classroom. Regardless of how we feel about it, financial incentives are tied to achievement for both teachers and school districts, so it is hard to ignore the possibility of such significant improvement. Whether you take the gamification route with teaching games such as Math Ninja or you use Zunal to create a webquest, students will benefit from the increased access to technology in the classroom.
2) Most of the benefits of 1-to-1 at a lower cost.
One-to-one laptop or tablet implementations are great for ensuring that 100% of students have access to educational technology, but many of the benefits can be realized without having to actually buy a new device for each student.
While there are many different types of BYOD programs, in most instances students who have access to an appropriate device bring their own, while students who do not either partner with those who have a device or borrow one from the school to fill in the gaps. The aim of a BYOD program isn’t to pressure students and families into buying more technology but rather to utilize the technology they already have. BYOD eliminates the cost of purchasing and maintaining hardware for a student who already has a device at his or her disposal.
3) The 21st century demands BYOD in the “real world”
Tim Magner, Executive Director of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, said “Because it is your device you can customize it and it becomes a seamless learning appliance.” This seamless use of a familiar device that moves with a student from classroom to classroom, goes home with them at night, and is used for both recreation and scholarly activities is another key benefit of BYOD initiatives. When students learn to use a tool in only one facet of their lives they are less likely to be able to apply the skills learned in new environments. In today’s world, it is important that adults and students alike learn to apply productivity strategies and organizational techniques in new and varied situations. BYOD gives students practice using the same device to solve problems in many different situations, and the end result is learning new skills rather than having to adjust to new technologies.
Implementing a BYOD program is a great way to boost achievement and prepare students for real-world learning at minimal cost. For more information, keep an eye out for Teachtronic BYOD webinars in the future.