Bring Your Own Device - BYOD
Employees or students bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones, etc.) to their workplace or educational institution and use those devices to access corporate, institutional and other information, applications and services.
This initial guide, an online version of which will be regularly updated, has been developed by European Schoolnet as part of the work of Ministries of Education in its Interactive Classroom Working Group (ICWG). It is designed to provide school leaders, local education authorities and other decision makers with information about current Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends, options and examples from schools in Europe as well as relevant lessons from BYOD implementations in schools in other parts of the world.
This website includes access to the guide, including the report and the country case studies. The full report is also downloadable as a PDF document.
A German version of the guide is provided by the Austrian Ministry of Education and Women's Affairs.
Webinar 16 Dec 2015
While the primary aim is to inform school ICT strategy development and support decision making, the findings on good practice and case studies will also be of interest to many teachers who are interested in exploring the potential of BYOD on a smaller scale. It is also intended that this will be a continuing source of information and advice with further case studies being added and further refinement of guidelines taking place in the light of new data collected as well as feedback from readers.
1:1 computing, the use of one portable ICT device per learner, is rapidly becoming the norm in many education and training contexts around the world. Schools are increasingly deploying laptops, netbooks, tablet computers or smartphones (as well as handheld portal media and gaming devices) to support teaching and learning both inside and outside classrooms. However, implementation of 1:1 computing by providing a dedicated (usually mobile) device for each student involves substantial capital investment by schools, or their funders. Also the speed at which some of these technologies are superseded by new models and new types of devices, as well as the cost of providing support and maintenance, raises concerns about long term sustainability, especially in state funded schools. One result is growing interest in, and debate around, the concept of Bring Your Own Device or BYOD.
Research by European Schoolnet and its network of Ministries of Education, in partnership with Cisco Systems, has found "Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) … is becoming more widespread and schools are developing policies that allow students and teachers to connect and use their own portable equipment (smartphone, tablet…) in school, as is now the case in 75% of schools [in Europe] on average". However, although "These figures are noticeably higher than the 2013 Survey of Schools: ICT in Education. The percentage of schools that provide services beyond basic connectivity is lower… at just 38%, with the highest percentages of schools in Denmark, Portugal and Sweden also providing services to support their BYOD policy". In general BYOD seems to be most common at secondary and upper secondary school levels.
Some emerging key messages, from desk research and interviews with national policy makers, regional education authorities, school principals and school teachers carried out for this guide, include:
- Excellent broadband and Wi-Fi able to maintain a good service for large numbers of concurrent users, are vital. The support of IT staff and/or contracting an appropriate IT support service is also very important.
- Although schools may make savings when students/parents pay for mobile devices, a similar level of investment in upgrading and maintaining infrastructure will probably be required as for implementing 1:1 computing.
- Teacher training, continuing professional development and pedagogical as well as technical support for teachers are essential.
- In common with other school improvement strategies, engaged and informed school leaders are needed to drive culture change and realise strategy aims.
- Frequently expressed objections to BYOD, especially when the use of student owned devices is required rather than voluntary, concern issues of equality and inclusion. The emerging consensus among researchers, educators and policy makers seems to be that measures must be put in place to ensure that all students can access similar technology regardless of their socio-economic background. In some countries equality is a particularly sensitive concern as citizens and parents see BYOD as potentially undermining a local principle that education must be provided free of charge.
- Definitions of BYOD vary and a number of different approaches to BYOD are used in schools. Schools often allow only models of mobile devices specifically authorised for use in school or purchased via the school. This approach makes technical and pedagogical support easier to manage, helping principals, teachers and technical staff feel more comfortable with, and more accepting of, the culture change involved in BYOD.
- Approaches to implementing BYOD vary, including: very carefully planned and supported top down approaches; informal BYOD by individual innovative teachers in a few classes, leading to pockets of good practice; and rather casual approaches where students bring mobile devices to school but changes in pedagogy are not made to take full advantage of this technology to enhance teaching and learning.