Tech Trends: BYOD or BYOT

Image: ajleon/Flickr

Bring Your Own Device or Technology (BYOD or BYOT), provides students the option to bring their own devices to school, for use in the classroom.  This allows students to work with devices they are already familiar with, saving them, “from the effort and time needed to get accustomed to new devices” (NMC Horizon Report, 2015).  This trend also saves schools from the expense of newer technology and software products, by providing a 1:1 ratio of students to their own technology and allowing them to test new software on their devices.  Students will take ownership of their learning and remain more organized, providing them a sense of responsibility (Wainwright, 2016).  According to Saponaro, students prefer using their own devices in class, and a BYOD policy affords the following benefits, “Student participation increases, learning becomes student driven, student collaboration and communication increases, cost savings, personalized instruction and a new way of learning” (2014).  However, the most influential aspect supporting this trend is that it, “reflects the contemporary lifestyle and way of working”, preparing students for successful futures and careers, while conforming to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for technology (NMC Horizon Report, 2015).

In addition to reflecting life in the 21st century, this trend supports project-based learning and collaborative assignments, such as screencasting, content-sharing, expression, presentations, and digital note-taking, to name a few.  Therefore, it also changes the role that teachers play in the classroom, from lecturer to facilitators, as they learn to incorporate student-centered learning within their curriculum (NMC Horizon Report, 2015).

Integrating BYOD and the redefinition level of the SAMR model into a small group history assignment for 6-8th grade students, could include researching the history of horses within the United States and completing a final presentation, for example.  After discussing the assignment rubric, expectations, examples of a completed presentation and due dates with the class, which could integrate students from different schools, the teacher would periodically check in with each group by asynchronous or synchronous means.  The student groups would also share their working documents or artifacts with the teacher, where she would be provided access to view and edit their products, providing constructive comments.  The activity itself would include collaboration among group members through synchronous means, such as Skype or Facetime, face-to-face meetings, or by asynchronous means, through a shared Prezi, Voicethread or Google Doc.  Additionally, the assignment can be completed by group members outside of class, which would provide a thorough, more deliberate presentation, that family members could assist with or help by encouraging their child.  Last, the presentation itself could be presented to the class via their individual devices through a smart board, computer lab, other student devices and even posted to the class website, which would provide parents and community members access to their student’s work.  This type of project-based learning would display the pros of integrating the BYOD trend into the classroom curriculum, which would provide parents proof of its effectiveness and support from the community.  

According to Wainwright, the BYOD trend raises concerns for network security, cheating, theft, platform neutrality and the technology gap, overloading the wireless network, affordability, charging devices or forgetting them at home and students may become more easily distracted (2016).  In addition, parents are concerned about their children using their own devices in school, due to, “Distractions of games and videos, unmonitored social networking leading to bullying or predation, consumption (and creation) of inappropriate content, social status and stigma of devices” (Panagos, 2016).  

These concerns could be lessened by incorporating a collaborative and effective BYOD policy, AUP and its enforcement by school staff and parents, while ensuring a thorough understanding by students.  Additionally, one way to lessen the technology gap, platform neutrality, bullying, affordability or students forgetting devices at home, would be to apply funding saved by the BYOD 1:1 ratio, and purchase devices for students to check out for use in school or at home, just as they would a library book, with more strict requirements and fines, of course (Sessom, 2016).

The BYOD trend is progressing within the United States education system and is a reflection of life in the 21st century, where the majority communicates, works and completes educational courses, through individual or publicly shared devices.  Fortunately, as technology and network infrastructure improves, and devices, such as tablets or smartphones are sought out for use by more students, school districts or organizations, access will become more universal and ethical standards and policies will become more clear.  Implementing a BYOD or BYOT policy within the education system will improve our student’s futures by providing them with the tools they need to compete in a global market. 

BYOD Application: QR Code Generator 

QR CodeQR-Code generators like Kaywa QR-Code, provides links to educational content that students can access on their own device. This would allow teachers to “hand out” numerous project-based lessons in the form of a QR code, that would allow students to immediately access, upload and share assignment expectations among their peers. Additionally, parents could also scan and obtain lesson plan information through the same means, allowing them to assist and monitor their children’s progress. This app would include a lesson plan incorporating the redefinition level of the SAMR model as I mentioned earlier. 


Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

NMC Horizon Report. (2015).  2015 k-12 education. Austin, TX: NMC.

Panagos, Tim. (2016). Wired: The future of education in the classroom. Wired.

Saponaro, Tiziana. (2014). Elearning Industry: 6 benefits of BYOD in the classroom. Elearning Industry.

Sessoms, Darryl. (2016). SecureEdge Networks: How to plan a security policy for schools. SecureEdge Networks.

Wainwright, Allison. (2016). SecureEdge Networks: 20 pros and cons of implementing BYOD in schools. SecureEdge Networks.

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