Bringing your own device to school? Is it damaged? Ask another student to fix it.
Bring your own device (BYOD) schemes may save schools investing in large numbers of modern mobile devices -- such as smartphones, tablets and MP3 players -- but what procedures have to be implemented when problems arise?
If a school puts a BYOD scheme in place, in order to save them from liability if a device breaks or is stolen, then responsibility lies with the student or parent. However, when a device malfunctions or breaks, one school has placed their students in charge of technical support.
At The Illawarra grammar school, New South Wales, Australia, students across six year groups are required to bring their own device for use in class. Specific brands are not required; instead, any devices used must be able to perform a set list of tasks -- such as supporting word processing or email.
However, the popular choice for many students is an Apple device, and so the school has chosen to use the Cupertino-based company for additional support -- and it plans to install a dedicated phone line in the library for this purpose.
In order to allow students to take control of their own device maintenance and for teachers to also learn more about the products, Apple will be taking a hand in training the 'student technology team' to provide support.
Originally, the IT department and teachers at the Australian school felt concern over passing control of supporting devices into the hands of their students.
Leanne Windsor, information services director said:
"Teachers are our biggest worry. They are scared of relinquishing control. But it's less work for teachers because they don't need to organise any equipment when students BYOD."
Another challenge that schools face is the transition from controlled Internet access on networked computers to personal devices that are individually linked to a school's wireless capabilities. If a device is managed by an IT department, then the control of the device lies with staff. Instead, with BYOD, the owner is in charge -- and can download and install as they please.
Schools that chose to trial bring your own device schemes will therefore be required to accept that students must be responsible for their device -- in terms of both activity and maintenance.
Image credit: Tom Raftery
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