The Great Debate

No, I am not waxing politics with you.  I am talking about the great debate in technology today.  To BYOD, or not to BYOD, that is the question!  Bring Your Own Device (or technology) initiatives have sprung up everywhere.  Some districts are just dipping their toes in the water, others are running full-blown pilots, while still others have been utilizing BYOD policies for years.

So what exactly is BYOD?  BYOD stands from Bring Your Own Device and the idea behind this movement is that students can utilize their own devices; cellphones, laptops, tablets, etc. to assist with their learning.  In an educational era plagued by budget cuts, is BYOD the answer?

What are the PROs of BYOD?

  • Students have the devices, why not utilize them for something constructive.
  • Student-owned devices will lighten the load on overburdened tech departments, they would not have to maintain or run updates on devices that don’t belong to the district.
  • Equipment costs should lower significantly as districts shift from 1-to-1 purchasing initiatives to supplementing student-owned devices
  • Students KNOW their devices, this eliminates the need to teach the tool.
  • Students are using their cell phones every day in schools.  Would you prefer that they use them above or below their desk?  If they have them in class why not invite them to use them and have them present and visable rather than in pocket being employed for off task agendas?
  • With limited computers available in classrooms, allowing students to use their own devices frees up the classroom for computers for students that don’t have access.
  • Using resources wisely, “Truth is, at last count (in 2010) more than 75 percent of American kids age 12 to 17 owned cell phones, according to a Pew Research study. And 19 percent of Americans now own a tablet (Barseghian, Tina)
  • Cyberbullying and nefarious electronic deeds happen every day and BYOD will allow students to see appropriate behaviors modeled on their own devices.  It gives teachers an opportunity to teach students cybercitizenship in context.

What are the CONs of the BYOD initiative?

  • How do schools adequately prepare for and instruct students on a variety of operating systems and devices?
  • Wouldn’t this be a management nightmare?  Who is going to learn every device and help students troubleshoot when problems arise?
  • Aren’t students without money, who already feel the mark of poverty, going to be further ridiculed for not having the latest, greatest device? Or worse, no device at all?  What stigma will be attached to those kids who need to borrow a supplemental device to achieve classroom objectives?
  • How will BYOD save money?  Won’t schools need to vamp up their wireless network, or create one where it is nonexistent, and increase bandwidth to entertain all of those additional devices on the network?
  • Cyberbullying, and other nefarious deeds completed via computers and devices will run rampant through school!
  • User agreements and policies will need to be changed and looked over to ensure that district’s are not liable for stolen, broken, or etc. devices.
  • How do districts handle cyberbullying and other issues that arise as a result of BYOD?  Are these devices really the property of the students?  Or are they their parents?

The list for PRO and CON can go on and on.  What’s your position? Why?  Can you add to the list?


About bulldogtechteach

I am a technology integrator serving in a k-1 and a 2-5 elementary building. I firmly believe in the power of technology to engage students and allow them to create and master their learning.
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1 Response to The Great Debate

  1. A. Teacher says:

    I think I can see both sides of this debate. On one hand it would be great to have more devices to use, however I wouldn’t want to be the teacher who has to figure out how to manage 20 different devices or look the kid in the eye who was just picked on for not having the latest and greatest devices.

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