Is BYOD actually effective?

Cellphone
Photo Credit: sparktography via Compfight cc

 A new and growing trend in today’s classrooms is the concept of “BYOD”, which is an acronym for “bring your own device”. Many divisions are switching their schools to include this policy, as well as set up some regulations for the practice. The future of education is centralizing around technology and a more paperless model for education. Although this comes with many benefits, many educators and parents are struggling to accept this new practice into their lives. One of the reasons I think it would be so difficult is because prior to these policies being made, there were very strict policies about never having a cell-phone or device in the classroom or anywhere other than your locker. Being that this is a complete 180 to the policies coming out today, it can easily be understood as to why many people are struggling with this new concept. Other worries educators or parents have about BYOD is that it may distract students with games and videos, that being monitored with social networking may lead to bullying or predation, that they may create or consume inappropriate content, and that they may get a social status with their type of device. Something I think is very influential about this new policy, is today’s norm: the majority of people have a smart phone and are usually in range of a network connection. I know even I have my phone on me usually at all times. BYOD has many benefits as well: collaboration is really easy if everyone has a device, learning is not constricted by the classroom walls, teachers can personalize and make adaptions to instruction, is saves on costs, education is a lot more interactive, and engagement is increased.

Even though BYOD has been proven to be very effective, if not done correctly, can become the exact opposite. Making sure parents have the full understanding of BYOD is very important. If everyone in the class doesn’t have a device to bring, you will have to have a solution to this problem (either a device they can borrow or other means). Also, it is important to ensure the connectivity is sufficient enough that all students will be able to use their devices efficiently. Before this practice can be used in the classroom, the classroom teacher needs to have a conversation with the class about regulations that are required to make BYOD not just a distraction.

As a student who had grown up in the era where cell-phones were taken away if found in class, it is somewhat hard to completely agree with this concept. Although I really enjoy having my smart phone on hand to look up information whenever I wish, I can see how much of a distraction it could pose to students… especially with games like angry birds and candy crush in the apple store. I do believe, however, that if students are trained properly of the regulations on using their device, it can be very effective. I think if I was able to see BYOD in use effectively in a classroom, I would have a better understanding of its benefits and be able to use it in my class.

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