Essential question: Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?
I do believe every school needs a policy about BYOD. Whether that means a school allows students to bring their devices to classes or not, should be a school decision. There are so many factors that I don't think I could comfortably say everyone needs to allow BYOD. The main draw for BYOD is that technology is expensive and "It is not sustainable to keep buying technology and giving it to the students" (Morrison, 2014). "The San Diego Unified School District in California has spent over $15,000,000 in purchasing over 26,000 iPads. That’s fifteen million dollars."(Heick, 2015). This is so much money and most schools just don't have a budget for tech or to update existing tech. This is a huge driving force in the move toward BYOD policies in schools according to Holeywell, 2016). I think every school should consider BYOD, and thoroughly lay out the pros and cons before making any decisions. Here is a simplified version of the pro/con list posted by Wainwright (n.d):
According to this list it is easy to be in favor of BYOD because there are more pros than cons. However some cons really need extra consideration. A big issue is the digital divide. "The digital divide may be a bigger issue for some schools, and there are also risks with students bringing expensive devices into school" (Morrison, 2014). This is a huge concern in bush Alaska. Many students have devices but due to poverty they don't take care of them. I frequently hear of students breaking their phones or someone else in their family taking it to use. In bush Alaska another concern is the network. "Forsyth County had to triple its network capacity to handle the surge in demand and make sure each school’s network operated with the most up-to-date protocols to ensure the newest tablets and smartphones could connect properly" (Holeywell, 2013). I'm not sure if this is even an option for our district. We just got 3G so I'm not sure how much more bandwidth we can get.
Considering these cons brings of back to why go with BYOD. Some interesting things have happened when schools have adopted these policies. One school "found that students would – unprompted – pool devices to use the one that was most suitable for a particular task. So if they were videoing an experiment, they would use the one with the best film quality; if they were drawing up data tables, then graphics won out" (Morrison, 2014). Another cool benefit is not needing to teach tech skills. You still need to teach safety but you don't need to help in the operation of the device. According to Heick (2015), “As the teachers began to introduce BYOD* into their classrooms, some fundamental changes began to occur. They no longer had to teach their students about technology in order to integrate technology effectively in their classrooms because the students were already the experts with their own devices" Overall it improves "transparency and authenticity, while encouraging learners to work with apps, programs, and hardware they’re familiar with and have experience trouble-shooting through. It empowers learners to solve problems, access resources, and even create their own workflow patterns if given the flexibility at the unit or lesson-level. And maybe most usefully, it provides a window into the homes and habits and access and digital literacy of students” (Heick, 2015).
My conclusion is that BYOD should be up to teacher discretion. I think every school needs a policy about student devices, because it is inevitable that students will bring devices to school. I think if teachers get to choose then it uses tech as a privilege and not something that is guaranteed. Students have to ask to use it and creates a clear divide about use.
Heick, T. (2015, February 06). The Brutal Authenticity Of BYOD. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/byod-is-shortest-path-to-student-centered-learning/
Holeywell, R. (2013, September 3). BYOD Policies, Growing More Popular, Create Challenges for Schools. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/gov-byod-policies-create-school-challenges.html
Morrison, N. (2014, January 19). The Next Revolution In School Tech: Bring Your Own Device. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2014/01/19/the-next-revolution-in-school-tech-bring-your-own-device/#3a4ca52a5b12
Wainwright, A. (n.d.). 20 Pros and Cons of implementing BYOD in schools. Retrieved July 15, 2016, from http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/20-Pros-and-Cons-of-implementing-BYOD-in-schools