Is BYOD an unstoppable trend in US schools?

It’s difficult to stop students from using the powerful computers that they love and keep in their pockets or purses – their personal smartphone. One of the latest education trends is for students to bring their own device (BYOD) for 1:1 learning in K–12 schools. It increases student access to rich digital content and a greater range of educational opportunities. As omnipresent as the combination of students and mobile phones is, it can be a source of anxiety for teachers. The assumption can sometimes be that learners will be unable to resist the lure of texting, watching videos, or playing games. But letting go of the fear and using the technology may be a better strategy, especially when school budgets are tight.

Many potential benefits.

Leveraging existing devices can save money, boost student engagement, and improve collaboration with teachers and peers. BYOD can help teachers take full advantage of common features that are found in most mobile devices, without impacting already strained budgets. This includes data organization tools, web-based applications for classroom polling and quick tests, audio for podcasting and radio broadcasts, or video for creating multimedia products and more.

Survey shows acceptance is on the rise. 

A recent survey of IT professionals in higher education and K-12 districts in the United States and the United Kingdom, the “Impact of BYOD on Education” survey found that only six percent of respondents reported that their institution had no BYOD policy and no plans to implement one. The survey does indicate that higher education is outpacing K–12 in the use of student-owned devices, with 89 percent of respondents from colleges and universities reporting they allowed students to use their own devices and only 44 percent of K–12 participants reporting the same, but the trend is growing.

Shrinking budgets and growing demand drive BYOD adoption.

Given the budget realities —with 74 percent reporting that they have smaller technology budgets than they had five years ago – administrators are re-thinking their opposition to the BYOD approach and districts who are piloting such a program increasing by 47 percent in just one year, according to the latest Project Tomorrow report.

Digital learning is taking off.

The chart shown here was created in 2009, and for the most part, its predictions have come true. In the year 2000, 45 thousand K-12 students took an online course in 2009, more than 3 million did in 2010, and more than 4 million did in 2012. Ambient Insight, creators of the chart included here, projects a figure that will soar to 10 million users in 2014. 

Policy guidelines are available.

For educators who are thinking about adopting BYOD and/or revising internet policies and need a place to start planning policy The Consortium for Social Networking, a non-profit education innovation organization, provides Acceptable Use Policies in the Web 2.0 and Mobile Era.” The guide describes ways to ensure that acceptable use policies encourage the safe and meaningful use of technology in learning environments, and provides specific examples from districts, and how to move toward responsible use policies.

Is BYOD a reality in your school or district, or are you developing a new policy? Let us know all about it at mystory@dreambox.com!