According to Project Tomorrow, 65 percent of middle schoolers and 80 percent of high schoolers are smartphone users. Additionally, 52 percent of middle schoolers have a tablet, doubling the previous year's survey.
In our eyes, the prevalence of student-owned electronic devices presents great potential for educational technology. However, these devices are often banned from school or required to be hidden away in lockers and backpacks.
With school budgets where they are, forward-thinking administrators have realized that the one realistic way to get technology into the hands of every student is to allow them to use the devices they already own.
1) Students are more connected to their own device
Aside from the obvious financial/budgetary benefits, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies also foster real and lasting pedagogical benefits that can revolutionize learning in your school. In fact, recent studies and anecdotal evidence are pointing toward increased student engagement (and parent approval) when the kids are allowed to use their own devices for learning.
From a psychological standpoint, it simply makes sense. The student already knows how to use their device to its maximum potential, whereas school-provided materials can be a wild card. There is also the added security of knowing the device will be coming home with them, which is rarely the case with textbooks or school devices.
2) Creates true Personalized Learning opportunities
With up to 30 students in a class and roughly 60 minutes per period, a teacher dedicated to true personalized learning can only spend two minutes with each student. That is not an efficient (or realistic) use of the teacher's valuable instruction time. BYOD makes the goal of true differentiation attainable.
In fact, todays online education software can prescribe curriculum tracks for every student, filling in background information gaps that can slow a struggling students progress or hamper the enrichment of advanced students. If a student starts falling behind, built-in analytics digitally alert the educator so he/she can spend more time with that student on a 1-to-1 level.
3) Better prepares students for the twenty-first century workplace
Small-group instruction is key in students developing the collaborative skills required for a successful post-K-12 career. However, with more and more workers collaborating digitally in today's economy, students need a different range of skills in order to work together.
If each students learn via their own device, they can collaborate on documents and products using services like Google Docs. Projects with partner classes across the country and around the world are now possible using video conferencing. Additionally, the twenty-first century workplace will require digital literacy skills and BYOD provides students better avenues to practice these skills.
4) Provides a learning resource that matches the pace of the student's schedule
I don't know about you, but students seem to be much more busy than they were a generation ago. Between after school clubs, sports, and classes, it's amazing that they get any schoolwork done outside of class. Yet homework loads continue to increase as they move through their educational careers.
If your school and/or teachers put high value in homework, BYOD is the solution for more student success. With assignments and background reading readily available online, students can access the information wherever they find themselves, whether it be on the bus, at home, or waiting for practice to start. If you allow parents the same access on their own devices, it can lead to more parental involvement and diversified learning environments.
Tell us about your BYOD experiences
These four points are obviously not comprehensive, and we'd love for you to help us tell the rest of story! What are your BYOD success stories? Are there any other issues keeping you from implementing a BYOD strategy at your school?