Bring your own device scheme launches at school

Bring your own device scheme launches at school

Summary: BYOD is now being trialed at a U.S. school as a pilot program.

TOPICS: iPad, Apps, Tablets

Bring your own device (BYOD) schemes remain contentious in both educational and business networks.

In schools, who pays for theft, loss or damage? Can schools force parents to pay for devices as well as the yearly bill of school uniform and text books?

Are parents happy with the prospect of their children taking expensive products in to school, where damage is possible?

Other issues remain at the forefront -- such as causing an additional social divide between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. Forget being teased for clothing choices, now, perhaps it is because the child cannot afford the next-gen iPad, or the phone they have is only an old Nokia.

However, there are benefits to BYOD schemes. Schools unfortunately often have to tailor learning materials and plans to the tools that are affordable -- and in the current economy, budgets are shrinking. If students are already equipped with tablets, computers and smart devices, then this technology can be used in order to promote an active and interactive learning environment.

In one of the first pilot programs recorded, a school in Chatham, Illinois has decided to trial a 'bring your own device' policy over a two-month period.

47 fifth-graders at Glenwood Intermediate School are participating in the 8-week trial. For the remainder of the school year, the students will be able to conduct web searches, create Power Point presentations, use apps and study through e-readers rather than print media.

School officials say the point of the program is to shift students in to a more modern learning environment, and remove the limitations of school budgets in order to accommodate the change.

As the school is unable to fund an iPad or phone for every student, Glenwood sent out a survey to gauge how many students could bring their own devices from home. The results were positive; 38 out of 47 could bring an iPad, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, laptop, Nook Color or other tablet device, and the school would furnish the remainder.

The principal, Jill Larson, said:

"We're taking baby steps to see how well this is going to work. We're not going to give up on pen and paper, but we recognize it's more important than ever to integrate technology."

It is not only students that are keen to try out the idea. One teacher, for example, has plans to use the devices to enrich his astronomy classes later in the year. Using an app called Solar Walk, he will be able to utilize 3D virtual planetary models for students to learn about the solar system more visually than simply glossing though textbooks.

However, certain rules have been put in place in order to control the student's use of their gadgets -- such as limiting their web browsing in order to focus on the task at hand.

If any of the students break the rules, then they understand that they will be barred from bring in their devices. It can be assumed that in this case, they would have to share with another student.

In order to combat gadgets being stolen, the devices are locked in a cabinet during breaks, lunch and classes where the devices are not required.

The difficult part of this scheme is making sure such device use is controllable, and make sure students are still developing their critical thinking skills rather than relying on technology to complete tasks for them. After the pilot program has been concluded, the school will decide whether the benefits of BYOD schemes are worth keeping the devices in class, or whether again left at home.

If it is successful, the program will be expanded to other fifth-grade classrooms and other grades in the future.

(via SJR)

Image credit: Incase


Topics: iPad, Apps, Tablets

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  • It's a bad idea

    Beside the obvious such as loss and damages to the HW themselves. What about other such as getting virus, worms, malwares, etc. etc - either from the school to private properties or from private properties to the school.

    I dont think the education system is ready and willing to deal with all the potential issues.

    Yes, in theory, it's a great idea where the public (or private) institution could rely on student's BYOD and lessen their funding issues but it opens up all kinds of worms for other potential problems. It's the same issues with a lot of the private business looking at allowing for BYOD but I just think the potential for problems far outweight any business cost saving at all.
    • Except that...

      ...if students can hose the system with their own tablets and smart phones, then so can a non-student sitting in the parking lot with a laptop.
      John L. Ries
      • Very true

        Wireless connectivity is more easily hackable, partly because it's more accessible to begin with...

        And I sincerely doubt any mobile device was created with security in mind (despite all the years of desktops and their security problems being an obvious enough example of how to make the "next innovation for the masses" more secure)... after all, an unjailbroken iPhone's SMS database can be hacked in 20 seconds (source: pwn2own) and one can jailbreak an iPhone by going to a website and pressing a button. No fuss, no muss... never mind iTunes, and especially never mind all the Android exploits... none of them is secure, so if you're going to house a credit card, get one that is used solely for the service in question and keep a low balance on it and don't offer overdraft protection for it. If it's hacked, you lose out on very little... but I digress.
    • The school district I work for is exploring this option...

      The school district I work for is exploring this option, and the very same problems you mentioned are our biggest concerns. We're running a cost analysis right now to determine the price of support and implementation.

      Instead of the individual schools paying money for laptop carts and 1-to-1 programs, it'll require reinvestment of technology monies into more expensive, centralized equipment usually implemented at the enterprise level.

      Not to mention our support focus will change. I currently manage over 300 desktops and laptops by myself, roughly 250 of those are student machines in labs and laptop carts. But I control what software is on the computers, their hardware configurations, etc., etc. This all changes with a BYOD program.
      • I hear your pain.

        There would be a lot of work and you really can't control "their" device and dictacte what not to be there.
        Ram U
      • Yup. "Delegation" and loss of control and hoping they will do the effort

        And we both know they won't.

        Some parents have know knowledge of lockdowns the devices might offer.

        Others will blindly assume the kid was born understanding and adhering "ethics" and every other construct based in a civilized society.

        A BYOD program is just being cheap and mooching off the customers/students.

        But on the plus side, a school then can say "The teachers and unions are not at fault. We bent over for you and allowed BYOD. Your kid isn't learning, our teacher did everything by the book and then some, so we're not going to fire him.)
  • Misleading...

    I think this article is a bit misleading.....My son's Middle School (5th and 6th graders) has BYOD for the entire year this year, for the students to do research and online work in the classroom, instead of providing computers for the students to use. They provide some computers in the lab, but not enough for an entire class to use, and they provide WIFI access for those that are able to bring their own equipment.

    This program was started at the beginning of the school year, and continues today (7 months so far)
  • Your title on the ZDNet home page reads...

    "School OKs BYOD trial". It should be spelled okays. OK is the abbreviation for Oklahoma. Even if one prefers to use OKs it should be spelled OK's, OK'ed, OK'ing. Notice the apostrophe. Heck, my young daughter, Bubbett, knows the correct spelling of okay.
    • The mass media in general finds these truncations acceptable

      It's quicker to write, and headlines have far less space than the full articles.

      I don't care for it either, but there is a justification -- at least for writing headlines.
      • Mediocrity, I say mediocrity, we are accepting mediocrity?

        Have you seen resumes (in this forum the e acute accent does not display) with such spelling? How about business reports going to clients, and the public? Well I have, a sad state of spelling. Our young Bubba Jr. can do better.
  • Cut costs = cut future

    This is out of hand.

    1. What happened to paper and pencil? "Developing countries" seem to be doing just peachy with these, so why do we?

    2. If we're going this route, make schools LEASE THEM and LOCK THEM DOWN. BYOD is just another empty delegation and leaching off the customer (or, in this case, 'student'). That way, schools get the control that they would not have with BYOD and be confident that the child isn't going to screw around - see points #3 and 4 for more:

    3. Cyberbaiting, texting, sexting, playing games, no lockdowns in these TOYS that are being actively used... the teacher can't take away the TOYS but then gets fired because they're not doing their job of teaching... or grade-inflation to meet the quota of "A" grades because, as Steve Jobs said, teacher unions are the problem (But he's just another marketer, as his actions and use of linguistics has proven time and again. After all, "you're holding the device wrong" said it all -- until somebody else thankfully told the issue of how Jobs knew of the antenna design problem long before his phone got put onto the market... but I digress.)

    4. Kids are there to learn. If the parents aren't able or willing, at least the school can have some control. What is going on is a massive disservice to this country's future. All because of the usual empty "new normal" shtick of driving everything down to the bare bones and then whining we're not getting ahead. Playing with consumer junk isn't going to fix the fundamental problems, especially when "developing nations" are said to be doing better than us AND WITHOUT THIS GARBAGE that only makes the fruit company (amongst others) richer. At our expense.

    Oh, I use Macs, and prefer OS X to Windows, so kindly don't call me a "fanboi" or "hater". That's not relevant to the discussion, which is about putting in irrelevant technology into schools and there's another article of recent on ZDNet discussion Apple working with schools to bring in their products. Which is what Apple wants - profiting from a steady customer (government, which is arguably the most stable customer out there right now.)

    Everything I've written can be verified with web searches quickly enough as well. I needn't nanny with posting 500 links at the end of every post I make...