Managing BYOD in Schools

BYOD studentsBYOD, or bring your own device, is a common practice in offices. This trend is now popping up in schools as well. BYOD means that students bring their own devices (laptops, smartphones, or tablets) and access the Internet or school network by the school’s WiFi connection. Schools can require specifications–such as RAM, software, and hardware–for each student’s device. Should your school adopt this method of educating with technology? How can schools maintain control of their cybersecurity?

First, why should you choose BYOD for your school? Technology is everywhere. Schools are striving for 1:1 laptop programs, but many schools cannot afford this. BYOD allows each student to have their own device to make learning as personalized as possible at a lower cost to the school. Students are also more likely to remember to bring their beloved devices than textbooks. It also allows for increased contact between teacher and student, such as online games and study tools created by the teacher and the ability to send alerts and notifications to students.

BYOD students

Students also want to bring their own devices. They being able to customize personal avatars, choose their desktop backgrounds, and have access to all school files and saved webpages online at home or at a remote location. Many students already have tablets and/or laptops. For those that do not have or require a different laptop/tablet, schools can get their students discounts from computer manufacturers or local computer stores because of the large amounts of business the school can provide.

BYOD has many benefits for learning. Our world is run by technology. There are few jobs today that do not require some knowledge of devices or technology. By allowing devices in the classroom, students are able to learn technical skills, such as typing, basic computer skills, keyboard commands, proper device upkeep and protection strategies, and simple network diagnostics alongside the school’s curriculum. Because it’s on the student’s device, they are more likely to continue learning outside of school.

BYOD toddler

BYOD capabilities can be scary for your school’s IT. With so many people on one network, this can pose a large security threat. By setting strict guidelines and sticking to them, schools can be as proactive as possible in keeping all school data and devices safe. First, all protocol for device usage needs to be clearly stated from day one. Websites like K12 Blueprint provide several resources that can help inform and educate all parties, from students to parents to teachers and faculty, about proper procedures and uses.  Requiring all students to have security and/or monitoring software on their devices is also a wise idea to keep students focused on coursework and teach them to use their devices appropriately. It is also important that teachers use technology actively in the classroom so as to provide as little distraction time as possible during school hours.

If you’re interested in how your school’s cabling and networks can work for school purposes, Heart may be able to help. Give us a call at 309.427.7000 today to see what possibilities unfold when you put your trust in Heart.