According to the National Consumers League, on average, children are 12 when they receive their first mobile device. With this early introduction into the daily routine, it’s no wonder they grow addicted to it and become dependent on their device. Not all parents are on the same page but with 56% of children in the US owning a cellphone, it’s inevitable that these devices make their way into schools.
Whereas a few years ago, schools had strict policies against kids bringing their cell phones to schools, now, most schools are of a different mindset. Many support the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) concept as a way to cut technology costs, improve student engagement and promote responsibility. While more and more schools accept and implement the BYOD practice, others are still on the sidelines assessing the impact, requirements and consequences.
Here is a quick snapshot on the pros and cons of implementing the BYOD program in your school:
· Helps to reduce cost in purchasing more equipment
· Accessibility of school content anytime, any where
· Encourages accountability and responsibility
· Requires minimal training because of owner’s familiarity with operation
· Accommodates a preferred learning style
· Easy to update
· Continued learning outside of school hours
· Higher engagement
· Promotes organization
· Requires logistics consideration including battery charging stations and storage
· Requires infrastructure consideration including bandwidth requirements, scalability,implications of 24/7 access
· Requires security considerations regarding data protection, sharing and access
· Limitations on the types of software programs that can be used on mobile devices vs desktopcomputers
· Requires a change in teaching approach and more communication between students and teachers
· May not be adopted by all teachers
· Requires policy enforcement adding more responsibility to teachers
· Requires time and energy in planning the above considerations plus maintenance and on-going support
· Requires policies around usage
· Challenging to build a universal standard for a large variety of devices
· Provides opportunity for students to cheat
· Separates the ‘haves’ from the ‘have nots’
· Difficult to manage virus, internet activities or unsolicited emails
· Distracts students and provides opportunity to cheat
Despite the long list of cons, many schools find value in supporting a BYOD program. Some teachers believe that mobile devices can act as an extension or a supplement to computers at school but with its physical and technical limitations, it is difficult to perform more complex tasks that require the full version of the software or require a keyboard and larger screens. Though mobile devices can’t completely replace the computer, a BYOD program, if integrated and planned well, provides a solution to key school challenges and improves learning process.
If you are considering a BYOD plan and need some strategic IT advice, contact us for a free consultation.
Some interesting facts about the growing trend of mobile device ownership among school aged children: