Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

10 Obvious Benefits of BYOD in Education

10 Obvious Benefits of BYOD in Education

by Troy Lambert

Teachers: step into a shiny pair of business shoes for just a moment.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become more and more popular in business; at this point, it’s almost an expectation, and is written into the technology policy of most companies. The reasons for business BYOD are clear: mobile technology is changing the field of communication, and allows businesses to reach more customers through local search marketing, mobile ads, and retail shopping apps.

The best people to test these mobile-based opportunities are the employees who create them, and the simplest way for them to do so is on their own devices.

The advantages are not limited to marketing and testing, though. Employees who bring their own devices cut down on technology costs for the company, and tend to have devices that are more up to date, keeping the company from having to replace tech frequently.

Employees are also more comfortable on their own devices, and tend to be more productive. If they have company applications and documents on their own device, they’re also more likely to take work home, increasing productivity.

It often escapes our notice that education is a business. The product is learning, metrics are measured by student success and public image is shaped by how educators interact with communities.

As state budgets are cut and small schools in rural areas struggle to pass supplemental levies, keeping up with technology in 1 to 1 programs becomes an issue, even with grants available. That is where BYOD comes in as a solution.

Is BYOD a good option for your class or school? Here are 10 reasons educators should consider it.

10. Productivity

Students and teachers are more comfortable using their own devices, and therefore are more likely to be productive. They’re also more likely to continue working and learning after school hours. The same motivators that affect employees in a business setting also inspire students and teachers alike.

9. Financial Savings

Students tend to have up-to-date devices, allowing schools to save money otherwise spent updating technology.

8. Device Longevity

Students are more likely to remember and care for their own devices than textbooks or 1-to-1 devices issued by the school. When the device they use at school is also the one they use to interact on social media and play games, they’re more likely to handle it carefully, and are less likely to “forget” it or leave it lying around.

More: How to Implement BYOD in Your Classroom

7. Sharing

Students and teachers can swap notes and assignments easily using tools that are free, and commonly used. Apps like Google Docs, One Note, email or Evernote make communication easier to manage and track. Even using email plug-ins, teachers can see when messages are opened, and collaborate directly with students in real-time.

6. Collaboration

BYOD increases student collaboration. While many fear BYOD will lead to cheating, this won’t necessarily increase, and may in fact decrease, as teachers become more aware of what devices students have in the classroom, and what they’re used for.

5. Responsibility

Students must ensure their devices are charged and working, instilling a sense of individual responsibility. While this has the potential to cause problems, such as students not charging their devices, or the device itself failing, it also opens up opportunities.

Charging stations and phone lockers would be relatively easy to provide, adding a sense that the school cares about the students’ devices as well, and is willing to offer them means to succeed in this area.

More: What Do Your Students’ Digital Footprints Look Like?

4. Engagement

BYOD allows parents, students and teachers to be more engaged with each other. Parents are likely to check their student’s device if they know it’s a key component in their education. If they wish, they can view the same documents as the students and teachers are sharing, increasing their involvement in their child’s education.

3. Organization

Students can be more organized, with all of their notes and assignments available on their personal device. This may require an initial set-up effort, but as the student learns the system, alerts on their own device can remind them of assignments, due dates, and more.

2. Empowerment

There are many apps available to encourage learning, including these writing and reading apps. Allowing students to select these apps and install them on their own devices empowers them to take control of their own learning experience while making it fun.

More: How to Empower Students in the Digital Age

1. Incentive

BYOD can be used as an incentive, encouraging students to stay on task, and engage in classroom activities and discussion. With multiple sources available at their fingertips, students are more likely to seek knowledge, which enables them to add meaning to a discussion.

The above tips apply best to students in middle school and up, where such policies seem to be getting the most traction. That may change, as elementary students are increasingly getting devices at an early age.

Parents may be uncomfortable purchasing devices for school use and other students may not be able to afford them. In this case an alternate program like an income based 1-to-1 or iPad or Chromebook leasing program could help fill that gap.

Teachers, parents, and students alike may feel a bit uncomfortable with BYOD initially, and digital security can be uniquely challenging. But, with school budgets being slashed while there’s an increased emphasis in technology, BYOD may be a partial solution, or at least a step in the right direction.

What do you think? Will your school be moving toward BYOD this year? Is it a good or bad idea?

I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below, or feel free to contact me.

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10 Obvious Benefits of BYOD in Education

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