As students are using mobile and tablet devices more than ever, we’re seeing more and more schools using bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives for teaching and learning. These initiatives are ideal for schools and come with a number of benefits, such as offering another method of learning for students, and also not having to finance a 1:1 technology device program.
However, with these benefits comes some hurdles, as teachers can sometimes feel as though they hand over the control to students once they come with their own devices.
This challenge can be overcome however, and with some planning as well as a well-thought out BYOD set of guidelines, you can provide an effective BYOD program with a clear implementation policy. We’ve come up with nine tips to help you out with this implementation.
1. Acquire stakeholder buy-in
Other teachers and support staff, as well as students and parents, all need to be consulted when implementing a BYOD program. You should find out what they would like from a BYOD program and how they use technology currently, as well as any issues or worries they have. By being aware of any concerns, you can make sure that your BYOD program takes these issues into account to best fit a program to the needs of your school. It may also be an idea to set up a program committee full of advocates, and so that you have people to provide feedback to steer the program in the right direction.
2. Figure out which devices are ideal for the classroom
With BYOD comes the increasing use of technology, so we want to make sure that programs are as inclusive as possible. But not all devices will be ideal! Think about what you’ll need when students bring their devices in and then produce a list of devices that are acceptable. You should also ask your IT department to help you with this and see if they can be on hand with any issues students may have with their devices.
3. Take into account any security considerations
You also need to make sure your bandwidth can support devices on your network, and you have the right security in place. There may be times when there is more heavy traffic. You may want to build a separate network for BYOD access for security of your data and ensure the right antivirus programs and firewalls are installed.
4. Make sure there is equity
We also need to think about students who don’t have devices and consider implementing a loan-a-device solution so these students can be successful in the classroom too. Internet access also needs to be considered – a place in the school students can go to may be a good idea to combat this.
5. Create a policy
To make sure your program is effective, you should write up an Acceptable Use Policy. All staff and students should be able to sign this, but it should outline information such as where devices can be used, how they should be used appropriately and some guidelines about what they shouldn’t do when using devices.
6. Seek platform-independent options
Not only should you decide which devices will be appropriate (see the second point above) but you also need to ensure that any programs or solutions used in school will work for different platforms. You should consider cloud-based file storage options for easy sharing of files, and the use of web-based applications, which will function on many platforms.
7. Make sure you provide advice and support
You’ll want to train and support your teachers with a BYOD model and let them become familiar with it. Short, informal workshops are perfect for implementing BYOD successfully, but you could use other teachers who enjoy using technology to provide training on it, as well as classroom management when using devices too.
8. Produce one area for the school to go to
Consider a portal for software programs or online resources. This can not only serve as an effective communication tool but also enable a platform where students can have one login and access what they need to, which will help the smooth running of lessons.
9. Include digital citizenship learning
BYOD allows students to utilize technology in their learning, but it also allows students to develop skills for life and digital citizenship. This learning should be included in your classroom – for developing knowledge for success in students’ futures, but also to make sure BYOD implementation runs successfully.
Do you have any other tips for implementing BYOD? Let us know by tweeting to @Edmentum_INT.