The Pros and Cons of BYOD Programs 

Posted on Tuesday, 3/6/2013 9:51 am

Many educators have a desire to place a technological spin on the instruction they deliver in their classrooms. However, for any number of reasons, purchasing new hardware and software for students can be difficult, which could lead school officials to consider establishing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program.

Before teachers pursue this option, they should weigh the pros and cons of allowing students to show up for class with their own laptops, tablet computers or mobile phones.

The benefits of a BYOD program
As more schools take steps toward becoming technology-friendly learning environments, those that do not embrace the future of instruction run the risk of falling behind. At the same time, K-12 teachers want to make sure their students are acquiring the types of skills they will need throughout their collegiate and professional careers. Learning to successfully navigate the internet and use devices like tablets and smartphones can play a big role in achieving these goals.

For this reason, schools that cannot afford to provide every student with a new iPhone may want to implement a BYOD policy. Whether parents buy their children the device they need or they already have one lying around the house, schools can save money and still deliver the type of instruction pupils need.

Shelly Gould Burgess, a physics teachers working within Ohio's Avon Lake City Schools, is among the educators who have benefited from a BYOD program, NEA Today reported. School officials collaborated to make sure instructors were prepared to work with the devices students brought in. Avon Lake's technology director installed wireless networks and teachers hosted workshops.

"There's never an excuse to be idle, because there's always information available," Gould Burgess told the news source.

The potential risks of a BYOD program
Different students will bring different devices to school, which means officials will need to find out if their infrastructure can handle whatever technology is being used in their classrooms. In addition, schools need to make sure whatever devices students are using are secure and will not provide hackers access to private information.

Common school problems, such as bullying and peer pressure, could also arise when a BYOD program is created.

"Forget being teased for clothing choices, now, perhaps it is because the child cannot afford the next-gen iPad, or the phone they have is only an old Nokia," writer Charlie Osborne wrote in a ZDNet article.

With so much at stake, Scholastic recommends schools establish rules for the use of technological devices on school grounds and make sure that all members of the school community understand what they are.


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