Throughout this blog series on BYOD and 1:1 Tablet Implementation, we’ll learn about the types of BYOD scheme, the numerous benefits, the challenges of implementing these schemes and the potential cost savings they can offer.
Increasingly, schools are turning to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes as a cost-saving solution.
BYOD schemes came about because there was a feeling that students had more computing power and devices in their pocket than schools could provide for them in the classroom.
There are two varying approaches to using BYOD; schools that implement it to complement existing school facilities to enable use of certain apps or the internet for research, and schools that see BYOD schemes as a clear cost-saving option, replacing school-owned devices with pupil-owned devices.
So which one could work best for your school? Well, if you’re looking to implement a BYOD scheme as a replacement, you should first ask yourself whether you want it to be complementary or as a replacement.
A complementary scheme is lighter weight in terms of internet use and management, but even then some schools find that at certain times of the day they hit bandwidth issues as students use music and video streaming services in breaks.
Complementary schemes tend to be used with mobile phones and smaller devices. However, a whole-class method or replacement scheme, which tends to be used with laptops or tablets, will require a solid IT infrastructure, Wi-Fi and bandwidth capabilities.
There are a number of ways this can be achieved efficiently without increasing too many overhead costs; you can look at a ‘Choose Your Own Device’ scheme where parents are given the option to buy a particular device at the start of the year on a lease, allowing them to pay a monthly amount for their child to use a device recommended by your school which they know will work.
Alternatively, you can implement an ‘Acceptable Device’ policy, which selects which devices best support learning and stipulates these to students. For example, you could specify Google Chromebooks or the Apple iPad, and the consistency of the operating systems on these devices means that parents and pupils still get a choice on the style and size of device without the school having to worry about whether apps and screen sizes will cause disruption.
For more advice, insights and tips on which BYOD solution could be right for your school, check out the other blogs in our BYOD series at www.rm.com/blog or contact us for more information.
My biggest concern with BYOD in schools is increased social division. Although this is somewhat prevalent already, increased use of students' own phones and computers will boost the notion of high-end technology as status symbols. Poorer students will have to use either less advanced technology or use school-owned technology (which is likely to be less advanced as well). Both options would clearly emphasise the gap between the poor, with second-rate technology, and the rich, with the latest and greatest gadgets.