BYOD is now part of the education system, and there are lots of discussions going on about adopting BYOD for educational instruction.
Mobile devices are now seen as valuable learning tools and it’s seen as something that’s useful to both teachers and the students. While teachers can use mobile devices to acquire knowledge and to better or update their teaching techniques, students can feel comfortable using their familiar devices and thus connect their personal environment to the educational one. Both students and teachers would have at their disposal, thanks to mobile devices, lots of educational resources, including the many educational apps available these days.
BYOD would be the apt technology to adopt in this scenario. Practically, it would be too expensive for any school management to invest in buying large numbers of mobile devices. Hence BYOD, as per which students, as well as teachers, can use their own mobile devices in school, would be the apt method to adopt. BYOD has many benefits, like, for example, it encourages student-driven learning, leads to increased student participation, saves costs and also increases communication.
Myths surrounding BYOD in the classroom
There are lots of myths about BYOD in the classroom, with people sharing apprehensions or concern about implementing the BYOD technology for educational purposes. Well, this is something that happens whenever a new technology comes up. Here’s a look at the myths surrounding BYOD in the classroom which we need to debunk.
Myth 1- Causes distractions
Detractors of BYOD in the classroom would love to expand the abbreviation BYOD as “Bring Your Own Distractions”. This is not totally untrue. Students do tend to watch videos, play games and browse the net using BYOD devices. They might also tend to go on to the social media circuits or even watch series or movies online. But distractions are part of everything and students could get distracted even otherwise. So it depends on how you control and use the BYOD devices. Devices like smartphones, tablets etc can be used to access all kinds of learning and teaching resources. It also gives easy access to any school’s Learning Management System and helps in reference, checking facts, doing research etc. Those who use such BYOD devices can also make use of many educational apps and productivity tools made available online. These are just some of the positive aspects of BYOD devices, which, if properly utilized, could make the students more engaged and motivated. They could end up being self-motivated and self-directed learners. There are also indications that disciplinary issues in schools pertaining to the use of technology have gone down post the encouragement of BYOD in the classroom.
Myth 2- BYOD at school may intensify ‘digital divide’
This is in fact not totally baseless. That all parents cannot afford latest models of smart devices or go for the best of technology is obvious. There might even be students who wouldn’t be able to afford even an internet connection at home, let alone own a smart device. This could seem to cause sort of a “digital divide”, but it doesn’t because it’s a divide that can be bridged, that too very easily. Schools that promote BYOD technology and allow BYOD devices can very easily work out plans that bridge such divides. Plans can be made to allow students to work in groups and to give students who don’t own personal devices access to devices through the library or computer lab. It won’t be wise to wait till everyone owns a device for BYOD policy to be implemented. Moreover, school management or others can even arrange for funds for devices to be made available to all students. It’s basically about making use of technology, here in this case BYOD technology, for improving the education process.
Myth 3- BYOD will cause security issues
BYOD has security issues relating to it. It’s of course not as easy to control and monitor many devices as it’s to monitor and secure one single device. Hence the fear that BYOD could have security issues and could end up in malware attacks, data breaches etc is not totally baseless. But then, every security issue has a solution. Security firms and experts have for us many security software and options relating to BYOD and hence there is not much to fear. School authorities too could take certain steps, like going for a secure internet connection, using trusted antivirus software, teaching and encouraging safe browsing practices etc. Students need to be taught to be careful online, especially when they go for the many educational videos on sites like YouTube.
The best thing to do, thus, is to blast such BYOD myths, solve issues that exist or may come up and then make use of the BYOD technology for the betterment of education and for the advancement of society.