Does every school need a “BYOD” policy?
There is a bit of controversy surrounding this issue; however, I believe that ultimately all schools do need a “BYOD” or a “one-to-one” program. In our ever increasing technological age, we would disservice our students if we didn’t allow some sort of technology education. This sort of education is much more difficult to implement when using shared resources, instead of allowing students their own access. I suggest that the issue is not whether or not students need the technology, but more about how it is used.
Using technology in the classroom helps to engage students and prepares them for our digital age. Allowing them to bring their own devices to school can promote greater participation and engagement in class, decrease time spent teaching about a new device, decrease money spent by the school to meet technology needs (What, 2016), allow students to focus on the material they are learning instead of learning about a new device, increase time spent on material outside of class, allows for immediate and limitless access to resources and materials, improve connection with students and parents via online apps, increases personalized learning opportunities, and allows for access to ebooks (Wainwright). It doesn’t make sense to ban devices or punish students for using the device that they feel comfortable using. We should instead use these devices to our own educational advantage.
There are some ways that we can make the “BYOD” programs more successful. Schools should provide training to teachers and other educational staff, in order to help them learn how to use new technologies. Staff should have time to try out new programs and experiment using them in classroom. Using new technology in the classroom should be promoted by allowing teachers the freedom to experiment (Madda, 2016). Schools should acknowledge the challenges present in many “BYOD” systems and plan accordingly. These challenges include, security issues pertaining to web content and child online safety, appropriate band width, students’ access to noneducational sites such as games and social media, protecting against viruses and malware (Martini, 2017), and student misconduct on their own and their peer’s device.
I do realize that there are arguments against “BYOD” programs. I have been very interested in reading articles about the increasing digital divide. A recent study on Philadelphia libraries by Neuman and Celanano found that, “The very tool designed to level the playing field is, in fact, un-leveling it” (Paul, 2014).Student from more affluent families use technology differently than those from lower income families. “They select different programs and features, engage in different types of mental activity, and come away with different kinds of knowledge and experience” (Paul). Researchers also reference the”Matthew Effect”, which is the idea that early advantages multiple over time, increasing the gap exponentially over time. Other studies have shown technology to have a negative effect on affluent and poorer student’s test scores alike; however, the performance of the lower income students suffers more than their richer counterparts. “Reliable evidence points to the conclusion that broadening student access to home computers or home Internet service would widen, not narrow, achievement gaps” (Paul). This being said, I don’t believe that tests are the ultimate guide in establishing a student’s intelligence or abilities. Nor their ability to live in a modern digital world. We not only need to change our traditional system of education, we need to change the way we “test” or decide on achievement. We also need to stop comparing our system to other country’s. We are different and value different things. Our successes have not come from standardized tests.
Madda, M. J. (2016, July 10). Technology (and How It’s Used in Schools) Is Widening the Opportunity Gap – EdSurge News. Retrieved July 08, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-02-10-technology-and-its-implementation-in-schools-is-widening-the-opportunity-gap
Martini, P. (2017, June 25). 4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program. teachthought. Retrieved July 08, 2017, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/technology/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/
Paul, A. M. (2014, June 25). Educational Technology Is Making Achievement Gaps Even Bigger. Slate. Retrieved July 08, 2017, from http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/06/neuman_celano_library_study_educational_technology_worsens_achievement_gaps.html
Wainwright, A. (n.d.). 20 Pros and Cons of implementing BYOD in schools. Securedge networks. Retrieved July 08, 2017, from http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/20-Pros-and-Cons-of-implementing-BYOD-in-schools
What is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and Why Should Teachers Care? (2016, January 7). Retrieved July 08, 2017, from http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/tech-ed/what-is-byod-bring-your-own-device-and-why-should-teachers-care/