Mobile devices are pretty much universal these days. From the streets to the living room, everyone is gazing down at their smartphone. But what about the classroom? Sure, 1:1 initiatives have tried to place a laptop, Chromebook or iPad into the hands of every child. However, the modern student is most likely to have their own mobile device.
School districts are recognizing this as a potential opportunity. These devices will change how we teach many subjects. What used to be the completed with a simple pencil and paper is now being done on mobile devices. Bring your own device (BYOD) offers schools a way to supplement the use of 1:1 and introduce children to their tech integrated future.
Getting Started With BYOD
While BYOD isn’t hard to implement, there is still planning involved and multiple considerations. Here’s what you should think about with a BYOD Program:
Define Your Objectives and Policies
How are mobile devices going to be used in your classrooms? Consider whether devices will be an extra resource or the focal point of projects. Once you’ve defined how devices will fit in class, you can consider the actual policies. Setting policies allows students and teachers to have a framework for proper device use.
Buy-in and Communication
The people who will be impacted by the program (students, parents, teachers, administration, and staff) should be included in the development of the program. Understanding how the technology will affect each group is key to creating a program that best suits the needs of the school.
Enforcing the policies you’ve set is much easier when communication with teachers and administration is open. Teachers must understand the rules as well as how to enforce them in the classroom. Educate both teachers and administrators on the consequences of not following policy and procedure.
Communication with students and parents will help to learn the types and brands of devices students will bring to make the necessary preparation.
Examine and Prepare Infrastructure
Network and security concerns can be greatly intensified with the addition of devices. Start off by considering your wireless network. Will your wireless network’s performance take a plunge when everyone brings their own device?
Does your existing infrastructure has enough bandwidth to handle high traffic? Obviously, having your network go down as class starts is frustrating to everyone. If it keeps happening, your BYOD program becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Install Antivirus programs and security measures to protect student and teacher data.
What About Students Without Devices?
The unfortunate reality is that not everyone can afford to buy a device. If the classroom environment necessitates the use of a device, ensure no student is left out. A great option is to allow students to rent devices. In case a student forgets their device, having a policy for supplementary devices also helps.
BYOD programs are a way of integrating the real world into the classroom. By taking advantage of the common nature of smartphones and tablets, you can cut costs and enhance the classroom.