What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

BYOD, also referred to as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), refers to the practice of people bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices with them to the learning or work environment. 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 implementing BYOD policies, the company has reported up to 5 million hours of annual productivity gains, a statistic that is compelling many other companies to consider BYOD. In schools, the BYOD movement addresses the same reality; many students are entering the classroom with their own devices, which they use to connect to the school’s network. While BYOD policies have been shown to reduce overall technology spending, they are gaining traction more so because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working. A 2013 Cisco Partner Network Study found that BYOD practices are becoming more common across industries, particularly in education; over 95% of educators surveyed responded that they use their own device for work purposes. Although administrators and educators have cited IT security concerns, technology gap issues, and platform neutrality as challenges to the uptake of this technology, a growing number of models in practice are paving the way for BYOD to enter the mainstream.

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

  • Allows schools to create an online learning environment for students without a large financial investment from schools. Ideal for schools weary about making a large investment in tech from day one and ideal for schools that want to test out the online learning model. - acarter acarter Feb 6, 2015 - crompton crompton Feb 17, 2015
  • In my part of the world (Denmark), we have had BYOD in upper secondary education for the last 5-10 years. IT have shown its potential and have expanded with smartphones and tablets - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen We have also had this for several years with our secondary students - kayj kayj Feb 22, 2015
  • We would not leave home without our smart phones, be able to complete our work tasks if the computer were not available...thus, why would a student want to go to school without his/her BYOD. I think this topic should be removed...we have passed this discussion. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 7, 2015 It does seem a little dated with the US schools being involved in this for some time. That said, it is still new to many who are trying to figure this out - crompton crompton Feb 17, 2015
  • I am not having total recall, but recently read an article about the importance of not equating BYOD and a one to one initiative as the same thing.- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 11, 2015 This is an important point. BYOD brings up different issues than the one to one initiative. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 18, 2015 Having been involved in both, they are very different from how teachers teach to expectations to how the school community views technology. True school sponsored 1:1 is needed, with students able to bring in additional devices if they like. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015
  • BYOD is becoming 'mainstream' in the Queensland education system, with many schools now requiring students to 'bring' a device. This often equates, however, to schools adding an iPad the 'resource list' for students (this is true in at least 2 local schools - one primary and one secondary school in my local neighbourhood). That is, parents are simply expected to purchase a specific machine that will fit with the school's requirements. I'm not sure these are genuine examples of BYOD - where the school's system is supposed to adapt to whatever devices students happen to bring? Not wanting to be negative about genuine BYOD initiatives, but I'm afraid the term is being hijacked by a very different policy agenda that simply shifts tech costs to parents, without due concern for digital inclusion- dezuanni dezuanni Feb 13, 2015 I have not heard of this being required before. In the US and UK BYOD is when students are using their own devices in schools. What usually happens are that there is a small stock of devices for those who do not have a device and this is provided to the student in a discrete way. - crompton crompton Feb 17, 2015 In our school we require a tablet as school material for some of the grades, and we highly recommend the iPad as the teachers have received iPads to prepare their lessons with. But we can't make parents buy a certain brand, we can only highly recommend it. But we also allow students to use other equipment they bring (such as smartphones and iPods and such). We have a philosophy that the school should be a lab for real life, where they learn to use all these gadgets responsibly. The program still is in the second year for tablets (we've been allowing smartphones since they began to become popular), and we still are improving our strategies and policies, but we believe it is essential for the school to be an environment where kids learn to navigate real and virtual life safely and supervised. We also provide tablets for students who can't afford them. They can pick them up in the library. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 18, 2015
  • the BYOD approach is relevant to the educational sector as it provides many positive teaching and learning experiences that are separate from the financial perspective. When learners bring their own device to an educational setting, they will take ownership of their learning and have an individualized learning experience that will differ from all the participants in the environment. Students, with the help of the technology facilitators, will understand how to become a digital citizen by taking the necessary steps to become aware of their digital footprint and also by taking care of their devices at home and school. - dsilva dsilva Feb 16, 2015 Exactly!- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 18, 2015 This is what we are trying to push here in Taiwanese schools to reduce extra costs! - changcy changcy Feb 20, 2015- digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015
  • As others have pointed out, when students bring their own Devices as their primary digital artefacts for Learning, this should stimulate digital citizenry and allowing for other mindsets to evolve among the students With regard to the role of the Devices beside communication and Entertainment - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Feb 20, 2015 This will only happen if the school have a definite policy and implementation plan to enable this.- deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 22, 2015
  • BYOD is essential for all levels of learning - personlised digital devices that have been customised to the needs of the learner - for years this has been avoided - but there are compelling reasons to move ahead with this in terms of addressing personal learning preferences. - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Feb 21, 2015
  • BYOD is very beneficial and has been happening for several years in many places. I think we are still working on network upgrades in many locations that will allow for the benefits of BYOD. Always amazed at how different countries are finding creative ways to provide this. I think it is still a necessary topic - kayj kayj Feb 22, 2015
  • BYOD is fine for those populations that can afford a suitable device, but iut doesn't replace 1:1. That said, policies and infrastructure must be able to support both.- mike.jamerson mike.jamerson Feb 22, 2015
  • BYOD is the real technological revolution for education, since the tool itself becomes an extended part of the "self" for continuous investigation and self expression.- tszmarta tszmarta Feb 23, 2015
  • Sometimes we get lost in the 1:1, BYOD, Bring Your Own District Device, discussion and miss the fact that our educational system not only needs the infrastructure to support multiple devices per student but a strategic plan to shift from paper to digital. The biggest challenge seems to be developing an end of life to many paper processes which will have an impact on school design, Human Resources, Finance, Operations, IT, Board Policy, instruction.... The reality is every student, teacher and administrator will need a device yet who is creating the plan to get there?- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 23, 2015

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

  • A BYOD policy can also be used as a pilot project of sorts for schools interested in implementing a 1:1 policy down the road; if schools can show measured academic improvement from BYOD approach, it makes it easier for them to pitch their school district or administrators to support the investment a 1:1 policy would require. - acarter acarter Feb 6, 2015
  • Digital inclusion / justice - which is a genuine concern. Although research shows students from very different socio-economic circumstances have access to devices, their schools often will not allow them to use these in class; but these same schools then require parents to purchase an additional machine as a BYOD machine... Again, I know this is a negative 'take', but I think it's important to balance the very positive stories we hear about BYOD with an alternative account of the ways in which the term may be misused. - dezuanni dezuanni Feb 13, 2015 Yes, if it is not done well it can be extremely problematic. To avoid issues there is usually some sort of acceptable use policy (AUP) for using the devices in school. - crompton crompton Feb 17, 2015
  • BYOD should leverage on quality content with appropriately instructional methods in order to have its place in K-12 classrooms. - changcy changcy Feb 20, 2015
  • In many cases, this is characterized as BYOD vs. devices provided by the school system. In fact, I believe in a few years nearly everywhere will be a "one student to many devices" environment powered primarily by BYOD, however they will also be still buying devices for those students that don't have, can't afford (or simply as spares). - keith.krueger keith.krueger Feb 21, 2015
  • One other thought...the soon to be released 2015 CoSN IT Leadership survey indicates that 30% of IT leaders are NOT considering BYOD...that was up considerably this year. We are wondering if it signals that there is some growing resistance to this concept. We still see most either doing BYOT or seriously considering it. Also, there is a substantial difference between allowing students to bring a device which can be used supplementaly, and those districts that have an conscious policy to encourage students to bring their devices for learning. (Fairfax Co., VA, for example has moved from allowing to encouraging). - keith.krueger keith.krueger Feb 21, 2015
  • The advantage of ubiquitous access to digital learning tools should be a main focus. If schools are hesitating, the real advantage apart from personalisation of learning is the freedom and ubiquity BYOD gives - no more having to wait for access or having to move to an area where there are computers. - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Feb 21, 2015
  • Not wanting to throw water on the flames of enthusiasm - having a BYOD policy doesn't necessarily lead to all the positive outcomes cited above unless a couple of very crucial things are in place. Firstly the infrastructure particularly the wifi needs to be robust and capable of supporting a range of devices. (Agree - kayj kayj Feb 22, 2015)Without this it is doomed to fail from the beginning. So this conversation cannot be separated from infrastructural issues. More importantly nothing will change from a teaching, learning and assessment perspective unless the pedagogical orientation of the teachers has been considered. Teachers will continue with business as usual as has been illustrated in countless research studies unless their basic beliefs and assumptions about learning are challenged. So again the introduction BYOD will have no lasting impact unless a sustainable framework of teacher professional learning is put in place. The conversation is not about the device but why the device is being used and how this use can be supported. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 22, 2015 Totally agree - kayj kayj Feb 22, 2015- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 23, 2015 well stated!
  • While it's touched on above, I firmly believe that a BYOD without a districtwide and sponsored 1:1 program is not optimal. Similar to Keith's point above, a 1 child to many devices is the direction leaders need to be preparing for now. However, the district must provide the first device for children, creating a level field of access, as well as an expectation for teachers that the technology must be incorporated into learning and teaching. The child then brings other devices they plan to use, perhaps a tablet, phone, watch, robotic device, the list goes on, that assist the learner to power their own learning. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015I agree- mike.jamerson mike.jamerson Feb 22, 2015

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

  • Allows students to interact virtually with their coursework, their teachers and their colleagues; fosters their creativity and in many cases allows them to harness their digital fluency to help them learn their subject matter. - acarter acarter Feb 6, 2015 - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 22, 2015 Only if this is the culture of the school, the device doesn't foster this, people do.
  • For many students that treasure their devices, this approach allows them to integrate their beloved devices into their classwork, which is a very exciting step for many students that should not be overlooked! - acarter acarter Feb 6, 2015 This is definitely true. If you went to a training course and was required to use an unfamiliar technology rather than the iPad, tablet or whatever you had, you have not going to be as familiar, as productive, or as happy using another device. Also, it is important as part of thinking about learning is having students know how to learn outside the classroom in their own time. As students are shown how to use their devices for more than accessing Facebook etc. they can be able to use this to be lifelong learners, not just something you do in a classroom. - crompton crompton Feb 17, 2015
  • Not only do kids have their own devices for learning, but in Brazil the weight they carry to school (most schools don't have lockers, kids carry all their books) is a huge concern. Having digital materials really helps with the weight problem. One tablet instead of dozens of heavy books!- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 18, 2015 Good to hear - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Feb 21, 2015
  • BYOD might have a greater impact on learning and teaching if it could be used to increasing the interactions among students, content, and teachers. - changcy changcy Feb 20, 2015
  • Yes there are some major equity issues - and there are concerns about lack of team and group collaboration (or even conversation amongst students if they all have a device in their hands) however the real challenges are pedagogical, not technical. The impact on learning is a paradigm shift from 'doing computing' to 'learning while digital'. - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Feb 21, 2015 Totally agree. - deirdre.butler deirdre.butler Feb 22, 2015absolutely - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 23, 2015Great Point!

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

  • I know the district technology leader that was one of the first to go BYOD in the US in 2011. They have great statistics. for example, as of last year The district leaders report that 15,000 personal mobile devices connect to the guest network each day. - crompton crompton Feb 17, 2015
  • There are several schools in Brazil (including ours!) that are going this way. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Feb 18, 2015
  • My research group has developed a html5-based CloudClassRoom (CCR) http://devx.ccr.tw/, which is an instant response system to engage classroom participation. Students could bring their own devices, be it laptop, computer, tablet, or smartphone, as long as it could open a browser surfing the Internet. - changcy changcy Feb 20, 2015
  • CoSN has lots of examples...starting with Forsyth County which has been doing it on large scale longer than others. - keith.krueger keith.krueger Feb 21, 2015
  • Think Global School http://thinkglobalschool.org/ have a unique approach with each student having 3 devices

  • I think there are several BYOD projects we can show as examples if necessary. BYOD is not new but not completed either - kayj kayj Feb 22, 2015
  • We started BYOD in 2009 in Saddleback Valley USD with a very robust program, and more recently in Fullerton SD. Currently, at Tustin USD we run an 18,000 device 1:1 program in conjunction with allowing students to bring their own devices as well. We're increasingly seeing students bring as school issued device as well as another device. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015
  • There are several specifically BYOD project in the USA. In UAE "all" learners and teachers from K to University have been provided iPads two years ago ... there must be some results by now. Even though not fully BYOD, but a cost effective tablet solution has been developed in Hungary with great success (IELA gold medal in Mobile category) http://www.slideshare.net/Turcsi/tabula-cognita - tszmarta tszmarta Feb 23, 2015

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