Mobile devices may have been disruptions in the past, but today, many see them as necessary classroom tools. In fact, since 9 in 10 Aussie teens now have access to a smartphone, more schools are taking advantage of students’ attachment to their devices.
One emerging trend is the Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) program, where parents and students are given a list of school-approved devices to purchase and use for learning in the classroom.
This program allows schools to save money and ensure students are using the right tools for the classroom. However, CYOD does pose a few challenges for schools, parents, and students.
People prefer certain devices over others because they’re familiar with the features and can easily navigate the interface. If the CYOD selection is limited, some students may be forced to learn with hardware and software they’re not comfortable with. An avid Mac user, for example, may work slower on Windows-powered devices.
In a CYOD program, students are responsible for taking care of their school-approved devices. If they lose them, private student information and access to school networks can be compromised by unauthorised users.
Social engineering scams can get past traditional antivirus software. Most students don’t yet understand the dangers of the internet and could be taken advantage of by scams offering free games or iPhone rewards.
Tighter security and control
CYOD is actually more secure than some may believe. For starters, CYOD pushes schools towards a rigorous device selection process that ensures each one is safe and compatible with their security software, encryption protocols, and networks.
Second, each school-approved device comes pre-installed with Mobile Device Management (MDM) software that allows administrators to control the devices’ settings, install updates, and wipe data in cases of lost or stolen devices, all from a central console. In addition, MDM allows administrators to monitor which apps students are using, and even restrict them to only school-sanctioned ones.
Finally, having a limited list of authorised devices means IT administrators will be far more efficient at supporting and securing them than if they had to manage the security controls of thousands of different devices.
Preparation for the real world
IT goes without saying that students today will be utilising smartphones, tablets, and laptops in their future professional careers. CYOD policies are an opportunity for them to learn how to efficiently use technology tools and how to safely handle the data contained therein. This type of training is particularly useful for industries where tech literacy and an understanding of cybersecurity basics are essential.
CYOD in schools also provides significant cost-savings. Parents purchase pre-approved devices themselves so schools don’t have to. Or, since they often receive sizeable subsidies for technology purchases, schools can lease devices to students for a small profit in cases where parents can’t afford to purchase devices outright.
Devices improve student learning
While many variables affect performance, a 2016 study found that most students who use devices performed significantly better in tests, with many administrators concluding that CYOD technology enhanced the learning experience. Many studies show that the right device technology enables students to excel in learning, facilitate creativity, engage with STEM, and prepare for the future.
Teachers are better able to manage classrooms, make classes more engaging and simplify complex concepts with gamified educational apps. Cloud platforms like Office 365 Education allow students to take notes, share files, create presentations, and collaborate with their peers from their devices. Untethered from the classroom, devices enable students to revisit topics discussed in class at home which encourages self-directed learning.
Empower IT Solutions understand the challenges educators face when their teaching is not supported by the right technology. That’s why we’ve been working with schools to deliver a Managed Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solution that will not only streamline BYOD deployment but also improves school IT networks with a technology fund of up to $25,000.
Our BYOD solution takes into account everything from network security, policies, NAPLAN requirements and student welfare. We preconfigure all our BYOD devices with CyberHound software, Australia’s most trusted and comprehensive student wellbeing technology. To find out more, visit our Solutions For Schools page, or contact our Education Solutions Manager, Salim to discuss customised solutions for your individual school’s requirements.