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4 ways to employ BYOD successfully in schools

For those born prior to the year 2000, the rapid acceleration of technological adoption is almost unbelievable. But for those who never really experienced the pre-digital age, the shift toward tech-centric everything is business as usual. Today’s children and teenagers have never had to complete some of the most basic functions without the Internet or mobile devices, and yet school administrators expect them to learn and thrive in an academic environment that has hardly changed in the last 30 years.

Because the needs of students are quickly moving toward more digital curriculum, the role of technology in the classroom is rapidly evolving. While funding for technology in schools reached about $800 million in the early 2000s, this year that number has jumped to almost $12 billion. School administrators and teachers alike are beginning to realize that teaching students in media they already feel comfortable with is a much easier task than trying to make kids embrace outdated methods.

According to research conducted by education software company Sungard, the most popular digital technology to use in the classroom is a laptop, with 71 percent of kids ages 8 to 18 reporting having used such a device for school work. Half of those surveyed also used their smartphones for classwork and 44 percent used tablets. Of the students who used tablets in class, 52 percent had their own devices to work with and another 28 percent shared the device with family members. Only 20 percent reported using tablets provided by the school.

Bring-your-own-device programs are already quite popular in the business world and are now making their way into schools. Just as teachers are bringing technology into the classroom because their students access information online and through apps, allowing kids to bring their own devices enables them to learn and explore on a machine they already feel comfortable with. While the logic behind school BYOD initiatives may be sound, it can be difficult to implement such programs effectively. Continue reading for four tips to make deploying classroom BYOD go more smoothly.

1) Ensure reliable bandwidth is available
One of the most obvious requirements for school BYOD is also one of the most frequently overlooked. Deploying BYOD will have a dramatic impact on schools’ bandwidth, and IT administrators need to be prepared for the spike in demand.

2) Create guidelines for appropriate use of devices
While technology has proven to be beneficial in educational environments, it also creates temptation for students to get off task. Explaining to the class what constitutes appropriate behavior while using devices before they are introduced can help cut down on unwanted distractions.

3) Create lesson plans with BYOD in mind
When introducing a new medium into the curriculum, it doesn’t always work to use the same lesson plan created for a different outlet. Planning lessons that have been specifically designed for the devices that are going to be used get the most out of the technology. Creating a list of websites and applications that are particularly beneficial for certain subjects is a great resourced and will help keep students engaged and focused.

4) Well balanced learning is essential
As beneficial as the Internet and digital technology can be for children as they learn, time away from screens is also important. Creating an equal balance of on- and off-screen learning allows for an ideal mix of stimulation.

By taking these suggestions to heart, teachers and school administrators can greatly improve the learning experiences of their students. However, the advantages schools receive by implementing technology are worth nothing if the devices and programs aren’t managed effective and kept safe from cyber threats.

Faronics Insight classroom management software offers schools a program through which they can establish device settings, access software upgrades and maintain control over what students are looking at with their devices during lessons. Security updates can be scheduled to download automatically in order to protect against any unknown bugs or vulnerabilities and student work can be shared safely through a private online portal. Technology is becoming an increasingly vital part of education, so help keep IT investments secure with Faronics.

About The Author

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.

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