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Experts Provide Nine Best IT Practices for BYOD Districts

Experts Provide Nine Best IT Practices for BYOD Districts

When it comes to allowing students to bring in their own devices (or BYOD as it's known) there are plenty of right and wrong tactics teachers can take.

There are plenty of benefits to BYOD, such as giving students the ability to work on devices that they are accustomed to, "but it also creates some key challenges for the IT professionals who have to balance the need for computing power with the resources provided by their districts," according to an article on THEJournal.com. The article offers tips from district technology experts who offer nine best BYOD practices.

The first practice is "don't substitute a BYOD program for a 1-to-1 computing initiative."

"While the two concepts may seem similar from the CTO’s perspective, lumping them together can be a mistake," the article said. "According to Bob Gravina, CIO at Poway Unified School District in San Diego, 'We look at BYOD as an addition to our 1-to-1 initiative, and not as a replacement for every student having access to a device while in school.'”

The second practice is for teachers to "invest in wireless networks and the technology infrastructure to support them."

Here’s one instance where the 'if you build it, they will come' approach actually works. When we saw the popularity of laptops and mobile devices among students and teachers, we started building out a network to be able to support those devices.' That effort has been ongoing over the last 10 years at Poway USD, whose goal is to support three to four devices per student. To achieve that mission, the district built a robust wireless network and invested in switches, access points and other infrastructure components to support that network. You can’t just put a lot of money into wireless without the bandwidth, or vice versa. You really need to do both.

One last tip for teachers is to "understand that in most cases, enough BYOD oversight really is enough."

"Jay McPhail, CTO at Fullerton School District [CA], said the IT department shouldn’t overstep its boundaries when it comes to device support and other elements of a BYOD program," the article said. "McPhail, whose district currently has 3,000 BYOD users in high school and K-4, said, 'Apple has specific warranty parameters — with the big one being that it doesn’t fix cracked screens — and districts have budget restrictions.' As a result, he said, 'The district IT department can take a more hands-off approach to it and only get involved when it’s really necessary.'”

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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