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The Jury Is Out on the Future of BYOD in Schools

The Jury Is Out On the Future of BYOD in Schools

How will the current edtech trend ‘BYOD’- or ‘Bring Your Own Device’ fare in K-12 schools in 2016?

Experts are divided on whether or not the trend of having students bring their own devices into the classroom for educational purposes is a good idea for schools having trouble affording one-to-one device initiatives.

According to THEJournal’s article " What's Hot, What's Not in 2016,” the site’s expert edtech panelists weighed in on how hot the BYOD trend will be this year, and came up with the rating of “lukewarm to hot.”

While some experts like Jim Flanagan believe that taking advantage of the devices students already own is a good thing, some think it can further disadvantage students from low-income backgrounds.

In support of BYOD initiatives, Flanagan says: "With numerous studies and reports showing that personal tablet and smartphone ownership continues to grow for students, it makes sense that school districts are continuing to explore ways to have students use these devices as learning tools — whether at school, at home or both.”

But panelist Chris Harris disagrees.

“The problem with BYOD is that it provides a wonderful opportunity for those families with the economic means to purchase devices without really solving the major issues of providing equity for all learners. Add to that the problem of matching software/apps to multiple devices, and you end up with a solution that causes more problems than it solves.”

Instead, he recommends schools to take advantage of the decreasing prices of Chromebooks that make for easier district-wide roll-outs.

A second panelist, Tom Murray, also disagrees with the benefit of BYOD but for another reason. He believes that while many schools utilize BYOD, not many understand how to turn the initiative into a beneficial learning opportunity through meaningful instruction.

"All districts have BYOD in place as students are already bringing their devices to school. It's whether or not school leaders embrace the device as a learning tool that's the true discussion. BYOD will remain one of the most talked about initiatives in 2016, yet at this point, some districts have had this opportunity in place in some capacity for almost a decade,” he said.

"Although an increasing number of schools are allowing and even promoting student devices on campus, changing the instructional pedagogy is ultimately the challenge and what takes the most time to transform.”

While not all of THEJournal’s experts agree on whether or not BYOD is an edtech trend that should continue, the federal government has taken a firm stance against it.

In the U.S. Department of Education’s 2016 National Education Plan, it warns schools against relying on BYOD.

With BYOD, “[i]t can be very difficult for teachers to manage learning experiences and activities when they have to support multiple platforms and device types, and some activities may be incompatible with some devices. In this situation, teachers may revert to activities of the lowest common denominator that work on older and less robust devices at the expense of a more effective learning experience,” the report said. 

What do you think? To BYOD, or to not? Sound off in our poll.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

1/13/2016

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