Traditionally schools have supplied the required technology for students. This was done because the technology used was quite expensive and not mobile enough to transport between school and home. The introduction of the iPad changed that. It is a new kind of device with many educational advantages that is an affordable price for parents and light enough to be truly mobile.

There are many compelling reasons why allowing students to bring their own devices is beneficial to both the students and the school. If parents are willing to bear the cost then the only issue that remains in deciding on BYOD is one of changing a traditional mindset where schools see it as their role to provide the same set of equipment for all student to use equitably. In a modern teaching environment that mode of thinking can be more of a disadvantage to our students who, in most cases, are better able and better positioned to manage the equipment they use than we are.

The main reasons supporting BYOD are :

1. Equity – Often the first issue brought up, this isn’t actually an issue at all as the school can always provide for those genuinely not able to bring their own device, especially since the school will be purchasing fewer devices. It is in fact more inequitable to not allow students (usually a majority) who can bring their own devices to do so.

2. Cost – Schools cannot keep pace with the rate of change in technology. A large portion of a school’s budget needs to be allocated to the ongoing expenses for upgrading and replacing technology. As a result, schools tend to keep equipment long beyond its effective lifespan in order to save money. Parents are better positioned to provide their children with more up to date equipment that matches their child’s learning needs. As a result students school has money for other needs.

3. Management – Managing a large number of devices requires a large allocation of human time and resources. If the school does not have ready access to technical assistance then issues can remain unresolved for extended periods of time, to the detriment of the educational needs of students. Allowing students and their families to manage the devices they are able to help each other and refer to external assistance to resolve issues sooner. Taking away device management allows the school’s technical support person to spend more time maintaining an efficient infrastructure.

4. Classroom Troubleshooting – Most class teachers do not have the capacity to deal with technology issues in the classroom, especially with limited access to technician managed devices. Dealing with these issues consumes lesson time and distracts the teacher from effective lesson delivery. Being more familiar with their own devices, students are better able to deal with these issues which frees the teacher to concentrate on being the learning expert in the room and promotes a better learning environment.

5. Care and responsibility – Students do generally take good care of our school equipment but it is an unfortunate human characteristic that we take less care of items we do not own and have little control over. A personal device that student are more familiar with and have more control over will always be better cared for and maintained as students willingly accept a responsibility for looking after it.

6. Empowerment – With school owned devices teachers work with a restricted set of standardized equipment. This leads to prescriptive “recipe” learning with little opportunity for student creativity. With their own device students are able to blend school and personal use as they explore alternative learning paths. This empowers students to contribute to the direction of their own learning, thus making the learning process more authentic and more meaningful for them.

What Other Educators Say

10 Reasons Why BYOD is a Good Idea
Education must move with the times. What can be done to reach a technology-savvy generation that relies on media every free second of their time? BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, a trend that is catching on quickly. Bring Your Own Device has transformed the classroom by creating new opportunities for learning.

Bring Your Own Device: A Guide For Schools - Alberta Education
A province-wide community of practice developed the Bring Your Own Device: A Guide For Schools resource. This resource examines the use of Bring Your Own Device models in schools. It looks at the potential opportunities and benefits as well as the considerations, risks and implications that arise when students and staff use personally owned devices for learning and teaching in schools.

BYOT? Bring it On
“Based on a philosophy of distributed control of the teaching and learning process – BYOT is a model that sees the teachers working in collaboration with the students and the parents in the 24/7/365 teaching of the young. It recognises the parents, increasingly the young and the school all play a vital part in that education and that the best way forward in a digital and networked world is for all parties to work together, to genuinely collaborate, both with the teaching and the provision of the technology.” This blog, maintained by Mal Lee and Martin Levins, authors of Bring Your Own Technology, is a wealth of information about BYOT.

6 Benefits of BYOD in the Classroom
A few years ago, I decided to incorporate mobile devices into my lesson plans. While the content still remains the focus of my teaching, I think technology can enhance learning at every point in a lesson. As an early BYOD ("Bring Your Own Device") adopter in my school, I have seen increased learning outcomes and test scores, not to mention that my students are now more engaged in learning activities.

10 Best Practices for Teaching With Digital Content
As students and teachers continue to have increased access to digital tools and resources, there is a shift in the traditional instructional practices that have been used for teaching and learning. Students must interact with digital content and produce new ways to show what they have learned.

10 Real World BYOD Classrooms
These stories of schools that have tried out BYOD programs seem to be largely positive, allowing educators and students to embrace technology in learning regardless of the limited resources they may have at hand.