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BYOD Brings Opportunity, Challenges

     Most public schools are faced with a variety of instructional and curricular challenges in this digital age. In addition to pedagogy, these challenges are more and more centered around access, mobility, flexibility and equity.

     BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a movement that has been gaining traction for several years now as a means for schools of increasing access to technology without the cost of purchasing a device for each student.
     All of the students at Design Science High School in Fresno, California are part of a school wide BYOD Program. According to Principal Roy Exum, his school asks all students to bring a device to use in class.

     "The teachers agreed to use them for instruction extensively so that they had value and that they became as important as books. We are a Google Apps for Education school and BYOD aligns well with doing all work in Google,” said Exum. 

     Exum added that parents are encouraged to purchase inexpensive devices such as Chromebooks and that students who cannot afford one are loaned one at school.
BYOD is something that schools of all grade levels have utilized. According to Jodi Moskowitz, an Innovation and Technology Coach at Crabapple Middle School in Roswell, Georgia, her district used this model effectively starting several years ago at New Prospect Elementary School. 

     “Although we had iPad carts in classrooms, we did not have enough to be 1:1 for all students,” said Moskowitz. “By going BYOD, and inviting students to bring their own devices, it helped fill in holes because classes and teachers were sharing. Many students participated and it helped out teachers and classrooms make tech integration available to many more students.”

According to schools that have used BYOD, or taken a closer look at it, here are some common advantage and challenges: 

Advantages
* Opportunities for personalized learning
* Immediate tech integration
* Concentrate funding on students with need
* Allows student choice
* School does not have to manage all maintenance and care of devices
* Students often take better care of devices that they own 

Challenges
* Taxes School Infrastructure and Bandwidth
* Curriculum and/or tools may not be available across all platforms
* Some devices may not be adequate for school needs
* Have to be aware of equity and plan accordingly
* Need to have effective and appropriate policies, procedures and practices that will support BYOD 

     BYOD is just one way to integrate technology into a school’s instructional program. For those that want to discover more, see additional resources:

Intel's K-12 BYOD Blueprint
Six BYOD Discussions Every School Should Have
20 Pros and Cons of BYOD In Schools
Sample of Napa Valley Unified's BYOD Policy

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