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Is BYOD in the classroom too much of a distraction?

By Shannon Williams, Mon 18 Jan 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A new study out of the UK has revealed some teachers are banning personal tech devices in the classroom for fear of distraction, despite recognising mobile devices are becoming central to learning.

The Canvas study reveals that more than on0third of teachers (34%) have banned personal devices such as mobile phones and tablets from the classroom.

According to the study, many teachers (62%) believe such technology distracts students from learning, although the profession remains broadly open to the potential future benefits, with three quarters (74%) agreeing that when integrated effectively and used as an education tool rather than a leisure device, such technology can make their job easier.

Canvas says hat for many teachers, the problem lies not with the technology itself but with a lack of proper instruction.

Almost four in 10 (38%) believe their school isn't providing sufficient training to either teachers or students in how to employ mobile and other technology in the classroom, the study says.

Nevertheless, the concept of Bring Your Own Device is being adopted by a handful of trailblazing schools.

“BYOD is already widely adopted in universities and workplaces, although the issues for schools are more complex,” Canvas says.

However, teachers do recognise that mobile applications and students' own devices are likely to become more central to the learning experience in the future - with two-thirds (67%) placing them in the top three teaching technologies in five years' time.

At a time when schools are facing increasing class sizes and a teacher shortage, effective learning will be key to maintaining good results, Canvas says. “And with increasing budget constraints, allowing students to use their own devices could be a cost-effective solution for schools.”

"There is no doubt that mobile technology is going to have a huge impact on learning in the future, but it's understandable that teachers are concerned that personal devices can be a distraction,” explains Samantha Blyth, director of schools at Canvas said.

The key to unlocking the potential will be to find ways to integrate personal devices into learning in a controlled way” she says.

“At Canvas, we are helping schools find the right support and guidance in how to choose the right products to meet their needs, and then how to get the best from them."

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