A successful BYOD program is a possibility for any school. Mobile technologies have become hallmark classroom tools in the digital age. Our students love using them. More and more our teachers are learning to love teaching with them. It's been a long road getting there, though.
BYOD programs really began to pick up steam around 2013. Lots of schools across the world wanted on board. Unfortunately, they weren't always successful, and there were many different reasons for this. If you had to pick one reason, what would it be? The solution can be found within the planning stages of a successful BYOD program.
The Keys to a Successful BYOD Program
The following are fundamental ways in which things can go wrong when implementing a BYOD program in your school, and how to address them. You can pilot any successful BYOD program this way.
1. Establish a Clear Vision
The best way to fail at hitting your target is to not even see it. You can’t just say,
“Bring in your gadgets and use them in the classroom!”
Starting with the end mind helps you circumvent this critical oversight. The following things need to be considered when jumping into BYOD:
- A Clear Vision
- Financial Plan
- Teaching/Assessment vision
- Global Digital Citizenship Program
- Network and Support system
- Security and Protection
- Rethinking the Environment
- Support Hardware and Software
- Parent Communication
Pro-tip: These considerations are covered more in depth in our free ebook 10 Things to Know Before Starting a BYOD Program.
2. Gather Your Best Tech Support Team
You’re going to need an awesome team to support the different tech kids and teachers will be bringing in. If something goes wrong, it will have to be handled quickly so no one misses out on instruction or productivity. Prepare for adequate staffing of tech support.
3. Expand Your Network Capabilities
Is your bandwidth adequate enough to support hundreds of users at the same time? These decisions will have to be made according to the size of your school and number of users. Couple this with the existing infrastructure and what it’s capable of. Spend time consulting with local experts and professionals. Find the best solution for the size of your school.
4. Decide the Best Plan for Security
Hacking and tampering are unpleasant to think about. Nevertheless, they are necessary considerations. Gadgets need to be protected from malware or viruses. That way they won't slow down or cripple the flow of information.
5. Take Privacy Seriously
This will be an issue for many, especially teachers. This is where the proper implementation of a Digital Citizenship school program comes into play. It's critical to develop a security system that protects and benefits teachers and students.
Pro-tip: Start with looking at our free Digital Citizenship Agreements.
6. Be Prepared to Address Bullying
This is another serious consideration that can be difficult to address. Once again, familiarity with the role of digital citizenship is a step towards preventing this from happening. Bullies also need to know that such behaviour carries consequences. This can include being barred from using technology or having their usage limited.
7. Strive for Equality of Experience
The differences in brand and functionality gives rise to inequality in educational experiences. Gadgets with lesser capabilities would certainly be slower and would affect the student’s experience negatively. Imagine a use of BYOD gadgets that will accommodate for the slowest of CPU of speed.
8. Address Potential Distraction
Of course, with gadgets comes a certain degree of misuse. There's always the possibility that some students might use the devices inappropriately or at the wrong times. Since the gadget is owned by the student, their own apps and documents may be unsuitable for a school setting.
It takes clear thinking and extensive planning in implementing a BYOD program. It’s important to keep following this movement.
Students are incredibly tech savvy. Breakthroughs in technology are making this easier. It helps to connect with schools who have already been successful in implementing a successful BYOD program.