The Benefits and Risks of BYOD in Schools

Increased usage of mobile technologies is pressuring business and educational institutions to adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.  This poses significant challenges for IT departments. Not only is it a security risk, but also it is an issue of having enough bandwidth to support users’ multiple devices. Many higher education institutions already have acceptable-use policies to help regulate usage, but they are not always strictly enforced.

Technology is omnipresent outside of the classroom. In this era it is nearly impossible to find a job that does not require someone to know how to use computers and other mobile technology.

The benefits:

  • Students who used mobile tech devices had better reading comprehension scores than students who used print versions of the same text
  • Students will learn to use technologies and develop skills that they will need later in life when they join the workforce
  • Potential cost savings for districts because fewer school-owned devices are needed
  • BYOD could support independent learning
  • Students can purchase eBooks instead of print versions

The risks:

  • Students could forget their device charger at home and be without its use
  • Security risks to schools’ computer networks
  • Teachers may have to deal with troubleshooting tech issues instead of teaching
  • Parents may not be able to afford mobile devices or may not be willing to pay for them
  • Cyber-bullying could occur more often in schools

Administrators hope bring-your-own-device initiatives, recommended in the U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 National Education Technology Plan (NETP), will help reduce costs and increase student engagement. Some schools that have already implemented these initiatives have developed solutions that were a concern for many. The district maintains a student wireless network that is separate from the one used by school administrators and teachers. Students must also agree to acceptable-use policies created by the district. Additionally, students are required to maintain their own devices. Many educators have decided that the benefits of BYOD policies and mobile learning outweigh the risks.

Teaching With Tablets


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