What is BYOD?

The term BYOD, which stands for “Bring Your Own Device,” refers to the practice of students bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices with them to class. Intel coined the term in 2009, when the company observed that an increasing number of its employees were using their own devices and connecting them to the corporate network. Since then, this type of activity has become commonplace in workplaces all over the globe. The BYOD movement in education institutions is being driven by a major challenge that many institutions face — a lack of funds to support one-to-one learning, a systemic approach in which every student receives a laptop of mobile device from the institution for learning in and outside of the classroom. The idea behind BYOD is to accomplish that by leveraging the devices that students already have, or those while their parents will buy for them. In practice, it has proven important to provide funds to support families in financial need, and to standardize on a small set of devices and software packages. Often the school or university will negotiate advantageous pricing for families to reduce their costs. In early studies, the act of a student using his or her own device for learning has proven to increase productivity and engagement. Tablet computing has accelerated the pace of BYOD, especially in schools, where these smaller, less-expensive devices are seen as a better option than traditional laptops. With their ever-growing array of apps and Internet capabilities, tablets (which now include an expanding set of choices, such as the iPad, Galaxy, Nexus, and Surface), are perfectly positioned for BYOD environments.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • It is likely that education finance (lack of) will bring this to mainstream.- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 28, 2013
  • It is becoming more and more a reality in Dutch schools - guus guus Mar 1, 2013
  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 1, 2013Although it seems to be a logical way to get tech into the schools, I wonder about the practicality of the educator creating activities that will allow each student (with all the different devices in the classroom), to effectively participate. It's definitely a riddle, Kathy! It completely changes the paradigm for viewing access to digital content that "plays nicely" on diverse devices. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013
  • - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Mar 2, 2013 Tried it, didn't work. No standard apps...difficult to support a dozen different devices, operating systems, etc. But the #1 reason? Kids brought in all kinds of objectionable stuff (and yes, that includes porno) on their devices. If we had been in the USA, we probably would've been dealing with lawsuits. ;)
  • In our schools (upper secondary, Denmark) we’ve passed the point, were more than two access points are needed pr student because they bring their own devices (laptops’, smart phones, tablets…). Of course it cuts both ways and we constantly working with how to keep the focus and we’re still improving.- claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Mar 3, 2013
  • This could work best for self-directed learning, when ownership counts in operation and target is only standardised for access. - tszmarta tszmarta Mar 3, 2013 Interesting notion! - Sam Sam Mar 4, 2013
  • BYOD is the only way that most public schools will get to the point where every child has access to a powerful device. I have successfully implemented a BYOD program, but we required laptops, and provided for those students who couldn't afford one. A big coming challenge in the U.S. is the PARCC and SBAC testing that will be driving purchasing unless we can communicate alternatives in how testing can be accomplished using a student's own device. - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Mar 4, 2013
  • As a quick source of reference material (eg reading newspapers) and of digital books (textbooks and other books).- paul paul Mar 5, 2013
  • In Brazil many schools began giving out devices, which is easier to support, but are migrating to the BYOD model (more sustainable in our financial situation). Some schools are requiring students to bring their own but limiting the brand in order to guarantee that the chosen apps will work, many providers are offering great discounts to allow parents to buy the devices and many publishers are creating digital textbooks to provide content. We have adopted an intermediary model in our school. We will go officially with the BYOD but also have a mobile lab to provide teachers with the tablets for lessons that we have to have all students using. Another issue that was brought up which I agree with is to define which device we are talking about. Some schools here required netbooks, many others chose tablets. It depends on the pedagogical objective, what will be done with the chosen devices. This has to be clear. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 5, 2013
  • Assuming that 'devices' is used in its broadest sense, ie. ranging from notebooks to smart phones and any forms that allow for connectivity (web/3G/4G), then the trend of the learners bringing such devices into the learner environment, both formal & informal, has become a reality in Singapore. However, while this is the case, the pedagogical response is still somewhat weak, ie. how are teachers designing teaching and learning interactions that meaningfully use such devices has a long way to go. This gap is perhaps an important area for the educator community to focus on - hornmun.cheah hornmun.cheah Mar 5, 2013
  • As mentioned, BYOD is going to continue to expand due to fiscal issues, but also student demand to use their own equipment. Many districts I speak with are seeing more devices hitting site networks daily than there are people at the site. If the program isn't formalized, the devices are still being used by students for a variety of purposes. With a formal BYOD program the school/district is able to begin instituting some guidelines. More importantly, by formalizing the process, professional development for teachers becomes a reality; it's difficult to provide PD for BYOD and then outlaw devices. The formalization of BYOD professional development within districts is going to significantly benefit BYOD adoption and education. Having begun programs in 2 districts I can attest to the benefit, but there are huge issues, from equity to effective utilization. The ability to narrowly focus the devices approved for BYOD significantly improves instruction and learning within the class; a wide open BYOD becomes a teaching to the lowest common device equation causing headaches for the teacher while not truly impacting learning. The equity issue is huge, and all students must be provided access to a fully capable device. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 6, 2013
  • BYOD appears to be more of a grassroots universal access movement than anything else. Schools may be adopting it because of a lack of financial alternatives, but we need to look at it from the perspective of the student. If they are already using these devices to access basic services in their lives, then how can we also provide our services to them in a manner that will assist them in learning. We cannot provide every solution to all devices, but we can create a model where the most basic services are available on all devices, and then work your way up from there. The concept is frightening to most because we tend to look at it from the how do we control the device and limit activity. We need to flip the concept and let the devices go, and worry about how we provide the services to be broadest spectrum of students.
  • BYOD could become a significant strategy to overcome financial barriers in reaching the one-to-one in the public school arena. Although not impossible to support digital curriculum in a multi-platform environment, it is certainly a a challange that holds many people back from utilizing the strategy. A curriculum concern revolves around the issue of web-based or app-based, generally if it is web-based all platforms are supported, but this is not the case with apps. This strategy still leaves schools and districts largely responsible for providing sets of devices for a variety of reasons: students without devices, computer based testing, charging devices during the day due to high use/forgetfulness.- sharyn.gabriel sharyn.gabriel Mar 7, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Students want to have their own personalized devise, not one on loan, not one that can only be used at school, not one tired to a cord. It has all their "stuff" on it, which supports their informal and non-formal learning.- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 28, 2013
  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 1, 2013The fact that schools will still have to provide devices for those that just don't have them available. there are examples of this, one is starting a 'store' for those who do not have devises.- jmorrison jmorrison Mar 4, 2013
  • The concept of a powerful device is missing; instead, devices of all capabilities are lumped together, even though those have very different affordances. We can't talk 1:1 in the same sentence as BYOD unless we clarify that powerful devices are required for 1:1. Otherwise, people think of BYOD as surfing, camera, and clicker replacements. - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Mar 4, 2013 Agreed! - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 5, 2013 Indeed! - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 6, 2013- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Mar 7, 2013This is a great summary!- sharyn.gabriel sharyn.gabriel Mar 7, 2013
  • It's important to consider those who cannot afford their own device, otherwise the divide will grow. - roger.blamire roger.blamire Mar 4, 2013
  • Many European countries already allow students to bring their own device, notably Denmark (see Survey of Schools: ICT in Education, 2013). - roger.blamire roger.blamire Mar 4, 2013
  • - jim.siegl jim.siegl Mar 4, 2013 I think it is also useful to look at a contrary point of view on BYOD. Fraser Speirs has a thoughtful blog post on "Run what you brung" vs district provided tech http://speirs.org/blog/2010/10/9/run-what-ya-brung.html. I think both are two means to the same end, the important piece is the 1:1 device and the sense of ownership/agency by the student with the device (either their own or one they have significant control over)
  • Limited uses of BYOD (eg as a quick references source which can easily be shared with those who do not have their own device) are more feasible and therefore more likely than the ambitious visions we often hear about.- paul paul Mar 5, 2013
  • Need for development of pedagogies that can use this environment better. Also, the articulation of the affordances/benefits of such environments would help educators to understand what are realistic skills/competencies that can be developed, eg. not just about content learning, but also about learning the process of self-directed & collaborative learning. - hornmun.cheah hornmun.cheah Mar 5, 2013- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Mar 7, 2013
  • - Gavin Gavin Mar 6, 2013One failure of much discussion of BYOD and 1:1 is the focus on the devices, rather than the information. In iTEC discussions at European Schoolnet, teachers talked of the value of students owning and building their own data and information. Greater focus on the skills and benefits of ownership of information may be worth further exploration.- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Mar 7, 2013
  • kids don't learn from the devices themselves, they learn from the content that they are able to access through the device, how they interact with others, how they leverage the devices to solve problems, etc. I think that this broader thought is what's missing when you limit the definition to the device itself. It's like saying that they kids learn with the pencil, rather than what they can create using that pencil. - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013- alex.podchaski alex.podchaski Mar 7, 2013
  • The need for educator PD for teaching in a BYOD environment. The curriculum drastically needs to change for BYOD, much like it must for 1:1, and teachers must be provided high quality cloud based curriculum, lessons and content to utilize. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 6, 2013
  • BYOD doesn't solve the problem of providing technology in schools, but it does provide a starting point for discussing all the issues that need to be determined, such as access, equity, content, and control.
  • BYOD is pretty much the norm in postsecondary education in the U.S. (likely worldwide as well). But a minority of institutions place requirements on device selection. K-12 can learn from those experiences. As online and blended learning become core to the curriculum, institutions will need to publish minimum requirements for student devices to ensure that learning apps will work with them. - brandt.redd brandt.redd Mar 7, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • This is a big peice of their personal learning environment and to deny them access does not support their learning and creative inquiry.- jmorrison jmorrison Feb 28, 2013
  • For a student using your own device at school also for learning purposes will make it easier to become co-owner of your own learning process - guus guus Mar 1, 2013
  • I see the power of using one's own device, since it is wide open and available to do both school and personal work on it. However, I do wonder about the effectiveness of a classroom with items from old iPod Touches to the newest iPad Mini and the expectation that these are equal in their ability to allow the student full range of choice for assessments or information access.
  • This is where the concept of a Powerful device is needed. Most of the tablet-type devices and lesser are just not yet full laptop replacements. They are very useful in a standard classroom, but they are not powerful devices. However, the biggest change will come in schools where teachers accept that every student has a different device but with similar affordances (this is where it is necessary to specify a minimum performance), and so teachers learn how to help students learn from each other how to access the affordances. Example: automated table of contents in word processing programs - how this is done is different in each word processing program so teachers can't "teach" the way to get there, but they can point out to students that their programs do have this capability and expect the students to use it. Teachers, of course, also have to have the class environment where students know how to work with each other to figure out the various things they can do on their devices. - Derrel.Fincher Derrel.Fincher Mar 4, 2013
  • Mastering the device has the greatest motivation due to ownership and thus becomes an extension as a personal learning network and as a tool for self-expression. - tszmarta tszmarta Mar 3, 2013 - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 5, 2013
  • Limited but worthwhile.- paul paul Mar 5, 2013
  • This, and many other forms of learning aided by technologies (or otherwise), can potentially broaden assessment practices to achieve a better balance between academic and non-academic learning. It is hoped that this is a useful consequence as pedagogical practices that can encompass BYOD emerge. - hornmun.cheah hornmun.cheah Mar 5, 2013
  • Certainly great impact on student engagement. A number of teachers mention an improvement of student writing through BYOD and cloud technologies. They indicate that with students writing on devices there is improvement in the revision process that leads to better writing, and they feel that by reading the writing in digital format they spend time providing feedback on content and argument as opposed to the simple ideas of grammar and spelling which are easier to grade on paper than the computer. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 6, 2013
  • The biggest impact will be when we stop worrying about the device and software and start designing our curriculum and assessments to be able to be conducted regardless of the hardware of software available to the student. It shouldn't matter if we use word, google, notepad,etc as long as we can write a paper. It shouldn't matter if we make a recording from a Mac, PC, Phone, etc if we just need to conduct and interview and transcribe the notes. When the tools are no longer the focus, BYOD will have really occurred.
  • It is true that this strategy allows teaching and learning to become creative, flexible and personal, however high-stakes testing has not caught up with this concept and is still "grade-level" based instead of competency based for differentiated learning. - sharyn.gabriel sharyn.gabriel Mar 7, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

http://www.twelve.tv/news/newsitem.aspx?newsid=324&newsitemid=14551 - jmorrison jmorrison Feb 28, 2013

Napa Valley United School district

Alaska School district

BrainPOP Mobile Offerings - iOS, Android, Win8, Google Chrome
http://www.brainpop.com/about/mobile/ - kari.stubbs kari.stubbs Mar 6, 2013

Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Mission Viejo, CA; Fullerton School District, Fullerton, CA; Capistrano USD, Capistrano, CA;
- digitalroberto digitalroberto Mar 6, 2013