BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a trend that's taking hold of the education sector, bringing benefits such as increased accessibility to information and collaborative opportunities.
According to ABI Research, by 2015 the number of mobile devices will grow to more than two billion worldwide, which is a 300% increase from 2009.
On top of this, Gartner estimates tablet production will grow from slightly fewer than 120 million units to more than 370 million units in 2016, and smartphone production will increase from approximately 650 million units in 2012 to more than 1.3 billion units in 2016.
So what does BYOD mean for schools?
There is still debate surrounding the impact technology is having on schools. However, a growing number of educators are saying it’s important for education systems to provide students and staff with the tools they need to build proper schools for the 21st century, and this means integrating technology into the classroom.
Benefits of BYOD are often said to be increased access to technology and information, as well as increased opportunities for collaboration.
Many schools don’t have the budget to implement a 1:1 program, where every child has the same device. If a school doesn’t have the budget to implement technology, or while it is finding funding, a BYOD solution can ensure students have access to a device.
A BYOD system also doesn't restrict students to what schools can afford, allowing them to invest in and use a more current, powerful model or one they are familiar with.
BYOD policies can encourage collaboration with teachers and students. For instance, two pupils can access the same online assignments and work on them together, sharing notes, ideas and solutions on one platform. A student can also take their work home and continue to work on a project with a classmate.
Teachers and students can collaborate between schools and classrooms, as long as they have access to the same platform, which expands the information pool and support system for the student.
A teacher can send students their presentations and issue online quizzes and assignments. This makes it easier for students to remember their homework and not miss out on work should they be absent, late or distracted.