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Why is BYOD important in schools?

Over the past six or so years, there’s been a steady rise in the implementation of bring your own device (BYOD) policies across companies and schools. These policies can yield significant cost savings because you no longer have to purchase and maintain tech devices for every single user. But there are plenty more reasons why you should adopt BYOD, especially in schools.

7 reasons why BYOD is a good idea for schools

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1. It gives most (if not all) students access to devices

A recent survey found that approximately 40% of school districts allow for one personal (non-shared) device per student. The remaining 60% share a device with another student.

Many school districts are recognizing the benefits BYOD, not the least of which can be financial relief from stretched technology budgets. School districts no longer have to budget for many of the expensive technology devices that they may have had to otherwise when students weren’t bringing their own devices. Even if schools have to purchase devices that some students can’t afford, it still provides, in most cases, significant savings.

The fact that access to high-speed internet has increased, combined with significantly decreased costs, makes BYOD even more achievable. More importantly, teachers and administrators alike are starting to see tangible academic results from integrating BYOD in their schools.

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Photo credit: Angely Acevedo 

2. The benefits are countless

So why is BYOD important in schools, and what exactly are the benefits that are leading to student success? The benefits most commonly reported include:

  • More personalized learning.
  • An increase in digital collaboration in the classroom with both peers and teachers.
  • An increase in learning opportunities that only the use of personal devices can provide.
  • Increased digital resources during and outside of class.
  • An increase in technology awareness and stewardship that better prepares students for lifelong technology skills.
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3. BYOD is taking over, even in the workplace

It’s important to understand where students are heading after they graduate from high school. BYOD is much more common in post-secondary institutions, and there’s no mistaking the trend of BYOD in the workplace.

Nearly every single job that doesn’t exclusively involve manual labor requires some proficiency with software and tech devices. Many teams, especially in the tech industry, use apps like Slack and Discord to manage their internal communication. Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets have practically replaced Microsoft Office because of their real-time editing support. With a BYOD policy in place, your school would support students in developing vital tech literacy skills early on.

Global Market Insights reports that the BYOD market is expected to increase from a $30 billion industry in 2014 to a $367 billion industry by 2022. That would support the 2016 claim by Cisco that businesses who practice BYOD in the workplace save $350 per employee per year, with a potential of saving up to $1300 per year per employee. So it’s safe to say that BYOD isn’t going away anytime soon.

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4. Mobile-friendly world

Today, many websites are built with a mobile-first strategy to optimize the browsing experience on smartphones. The use of mobile phones has steadily increased, so much so that it’s now the dominant option for visiting sites. The reason is simple: Mobile devices are much more convenient than desktops and allow users to quickly browse content as needed. In the classroom, if managed properly, the use of mobile devices through a BYOD policy could allow students to find supplementary information related to a lecture or reading — without having to lug around a laptop.

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Photo credit: Pixabay

5. Independent and familiar learning

It’s understandable why schools try to micromanage every detail of technology integration. From pressure placed on decision-makers by school boards to concerns over cost and risks, implementing BYOD has its fair share of challenges. However, when 38% of our nation’s children below age two have already used an iPod, iPad, or iPhone, it’s safe to assume that the majority of them will have a preferred digital device by the time they enter school. It’s also quite evident that students love having a personal choice in what device they’re using, especially for schoolwork. It’s that independence and familiarity that’s ripe for learning in a BYOD environment.

BYOD can answer the need for technology in schools

BYOD integration in schools is almost a necessity. While access is not yet equal and the digital gap still exists, a BYOD policy can help you bridge that gap by freeing up more of your budget to serve the more financially disadvantaged students at your school. It’s also becoming increasingly important for students to demonstrate computer literacy. The post-K-12 world of education and employment has clear expectations for students — the best we can do is to prepare them for the digital world while they’re still in school.

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