What is a BYOD policy? Initially, BYOD, or “Bring Your Own Device,” was introduced by the IT departments of many corporations to handle an increasing trend of employees using their personal devices for work. This type of policy has permeated the education industry as well, and for good reasons.
BYOD policies in classrooms are becoming more popular in the United States and elsewhere, especially in today’s cost-conscious grades K–12 classroom environment. Instead of investing money in buying computers for every student, schools encourage students to “BYOD”—from notebooks to tablets to smartphones—to class.
Classrooms are now transforming from pencil-and-paper environments to purely online or blended learning settings. As learning and teaching styles evolve accordingly, schools are discussing the pros and cons of BYOD policies. BYOD, under supervision by teachers, can be highly beneficial in the K–12 environment, leading to more engagement and better learning outcomes among students.
Let’s look at some of the advantages:
Convenience: One of the most basic yet important advantages of BYOD is the convenience and comfort students experience by using their own devices. When learners bring their devices to school, they are using tools that are already familiar to them. This familiarity means that students can focus more on the lesson itself without worrying about how to handle the devices.
Reduced Cost: Because students bring their own devices, schools don’t have to spend a huge amount to buy and maintain computers for each student. Therefore, for the education industry, BYOD has proven to be a cost-effective measure.
Easier Learner Engagement: Advances in technology have led to new features on devices that were difficult to fathom until a few years ago. These features not only make it easier for students to learn lessons but also help them retain information for longer periods. Technology can be easily leveraged if students are allowed to use their own, familiar devices to enhance their learning. In a way, students manage their own learning, because they can access lessons outside the classroom as well. Furthermore, BYOD has an interactive edge to it, which makes learning more engaging.
Now, let’s look at some of the potential issues:
Distractions: It’s true that students can get easily distracted if they have continuous access to tech devices. With smartphones or tablets in constant use, the line between work and play can become blurred, frustrating teachers who are trying to keep students focused.
Lack of connectivity: Different kinds of connectivity are required for different devices. A powerful laptop might have strong wireless connectivity, working quite a distance from the Wi-Fi access point, while the same cannot always be said for smartphones. Therefore, investing in appropriate wireless access points is important, yet possibly expensive.
Privacy: Teachers focus might be compromised, since they will have to continuously monitor BYOD usage and the material that is accessed and shared between learners.
Although BYOD policies are beneficial to the education industry, they also warrant caution and a proper analysis of their pros and cons. At the same time, publishers need to design curricula that better engage students to help them learn. MPS helps publishers design and develop content for students in preschool through grade 12, with the aim of retaining as well as increasing readership of the developed content. Contact us to learn more about our content authoring solutions.