What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

BYOD, also referred to as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), refers to the practice of people bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices with them to the learning or work environment. Intel coined the term in 2009, when the company observed that an increasing number of its employees were using their own devices and connecting them to the corporate network. Since implementing BYOD policies, the company has reported up to 5 million hours of annual productivity gains, a statistic that is compelling many other companies to consider BYOD. In schools, the BYOD movement addresses the same reality; many students are entering the classroom with their own devices, which they use to connect to the school’s network. While BYOD policies have been shown to reduce overall technology spending, they are gaining traction more so because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working. A 2013 Cisco Partner Network Study found that BYOD practices are becoming more common across industries, particularly in education; over 95% of educators surveyed responded that they use their own device for work purposes. Although administrators and educators have cited IT security concerns, technology gap issues, and platform neutrality as challenges to the uptake of this technology, a growing number of models in practice are paving the way for BYOD to enter the mainstream.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Instructors in higher ed are familiar with "requirements": use MLA style, or APA style--one but not the other. With technology, instructors can no longer say "bring a laptop." They need to say "have something that can access the web, or read a pdf." I knew one instructor at USC who had to cope with a student trying to read a pdf reformatted for an e-ink Kindle. In many places, IT departments have already become BYOD. Instructors are now grappling with the issue--often without much support. - edward.oneill edward.oneill Oct 14, 2014 - helga helga Oct 24, 2014
  • Our institution is seeing an increasing trend towards BYOD. In our education faculties student cafeteria for example, students increasingly use the big tables to sit together with their devices and work together amid the food and drink on offer. The library has already been reconfigured to accommodate students bringing their own devices, with large numbers of power points available, casual and movable seating, and robust wifi. Lecture theatres are now much better equipped for simultaneous wifi use by over 100 people at a time. I'm also working with a local high school as it develops its own BYOD programme. The pilot study has identified some key things for it to deal with that are probably also relevant for higher ed: using agnostic tools (Android/Apple capable/browser-based); having lockable charging stations for devices; storage of devices during physical education (when students' bags are unsupervised and prone to theft); larger numbers of accessible powerpoints in rooms; more moveable furniture; robust wifi. - n.wright n.wright Oct 15, 2014
  • Our school is also trending towards BYOD. Unfortunately, it's easy to say "lets go BYOD", but there are so many issues to consider. Not only do teachers need to be educated on tools that can be used on multiple platforms (and sizes), IT must ensure that the WiFi is stable and able to handle the extra traffic. Classrooms will need to be retrofitted with extra power outlets. The rooms may need re-configuring to accommodate a new learning environment. Access for all is something that needs to be considered. Some students have trouble paying tuition. What happens when they can't afford a device? Currently, we have open labs for students who don't have Internet/computer access at home. - lkoster lkoster Oct 20, 2014
  • I agree with the above statement some students have problems paying tuition. We are planning to redesign our information literacy lab to include areas where students need to BYOD. The questions we are addressing are providing support to students who have no device, trouble shooting student's device when there is a connection problem, how disruptive will that be during the class. The concept of BYOD is great but we need to address the support issue - astoute astoute Oct 27, 2014.
  • BYOD seems more like a fact of life on campuses now but I would agree that the IT support model hasn't quite caught up with it. On our campus I'd say we're 60-75% of the way there. Our new teaching and learning building, which houses all of our classrooms, was built with power outlets in the floors, movable furniture everywhere and we saturated the building with wifi access points. Most students bring a laptop as well as several other mobile devices and our Help Desk is staffed to help students (and faculty and staff) get their devices connected to the network and to public printers. But, given that our students are often required to use specialized software we still have a couple of public labs as well as mobile carts with laptops that can be delivered to classrooms. - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 22, 2014
  • BYOD is indeed a fact of life, and it is now the basis of real F2F collaboration, through the sharing of information and artefacts on each person's device. Students and faculty share "presentation space" by toggling what is on their personal screen to the classroom screen, through tools like Apple TV and Crestron AirMedia. - vforssman vforssman Oct 25, 2014
  • The University and College that I am currently attached to has initiated the BYOD since 2013, for the Pre-University and the Foundation programmes. Thus, Librarian finds it very convenient as we can conduct the Literacy class in any classroom. Jefrina- jefrina.jamaluddin jefrina.jamaluddin
  • BYOD is the reality, but it is far from ideal for all of the reasons mentioned above, not least the massive investment in the infrastructure that is needed and the financial implications for less wealthy students. We are currently running a pilot scheme where all students in a particular school are given an iPad when they join us. We will be closely monitoring the outcomes. - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 27, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • We might want to add more about the challenges raised my many in question 1: infrastructure requirements, IT support issues, pedagogical issues related to using tools that are platform-agnostic, as well as the issue of equality if not everyone can afford to bring their own. - Elizabeth_Hodas Elizabeth_Hodas Oct 22, 2014 - helga helga Oct 24, 2014
  • Recently we surveyed students who told us they are BYON (Bring Your Own Network). They prefer to use their own network over the university's access. I don't know if this is because their network is faster (probable), if they feel accessing campus networks limits their rights to access specific sites (possible), privacy issues, or if there are other factors involved. - Mark.fink Mark.fink
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • BYOD will be limited to the power of the mobile internet until we have a more robust core set of standard features that can be depended upon. Potential opportunities and challenges of BYOD feel like they're tied to that core features set being a good fit for campus. Otherwise, we're still struggling with a lowest common denominator problem in the classroom. - dicksonk dicksonk Oct 22, 2014
  • We have to increase the power socket around the campus, especially the Open Collaboration area and in the Library. On another note, it is convenient and no need to increase number of computers and computer lap.Jefrina- jefrina.jamaluddin jefrina.jamaluddin Oct 27, 2014
  • Major opportunity to transform pedagogy if mobile devices are used for content creation, as opposed to passive consumption of content. Also, institutions will need to recraft their student learning spaces to support the need for continuous power charging. How many of you notice how many airports have WiFi but you can't find an outlet to save your life?! Faculty need training to understand what mobile learning is and supportive, online, community-based faculty development to share mobile learning practices. - mpacansky-brock mpacansky-brock Oct 27, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • We recently redesigned our Faculty Exploratory room. It is multi-purpose there is a One Button Studio (OBS), Media Scape area and area for discussion. We decided to jump into the BYOD concept. Faculty when using the room will need their students to BYOD. We have done a soft launch and to date the most popular component is the OBS. I have used the room for teaching students who brought their own device and it turned out to be very interactive. (Just thought I would share). We will be using a similar design for our Info Lit Lab as stated above in the "How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?" - astoute astoute Oct 27, 2014
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