What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?


BYOD, also referred to as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), refers to the practice of people bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices with them to the learning or work environment. Intel coined the term in 2009, when the company observed that an increasing number of its employees were using their own devices and connecting them to the corporate network. Since implementing BYOD policies, the company has reported up to 5 million hours of annual productivity gains, a statistic that is compelling many other companies to consider BYOD. In schools, the BYOD movement addresses the same reality; many students are entering the classroom with their own devices, which they use to connect to the school’s network. While BYOD policies have been shown to reduce overall technology spending, they are gaining traction more so because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working. A 2013 Cisco Partner Network Study found that BYOD practices are becoming more common across industries, particularly in education; over 95% of educators surveyed responded that they use their own device for work purposes. Although administrators and educators have cited IT security concerns, technology gap issues, and platform neutrality as challenges to the uptake of this technology, a growing number of models in practice are paving the way for BYOD to enter the mainstream.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • As David Thornburg stated in his Edutrends 2010 (1992; Starsong Publications) we need to teach our students based on their future and not on our past - and as the above introduction stresses, it is already part of the world autside the the walls of the universities. This means that all HEIs must take BYOD seriously and overcome the security gaps (that not least the IT departments and administrators love to spend much time on). - ole ole Sep 28, 2015
  • This also raises serious questions about the information infrastructure we support on campus. I've taught in auditoriums that simply couldn't support wireless access for all the seats in the room. (I was told I crashed the network!) - deborah.lee deborah.lee Oct 1, 2015 I agree that infrastructure is very important. We had a wi-fi access problem within the campus last week, when I was planning to use kahoot.it with my students. Always have to have backup plan - ateskan ateskan Oct 22, 2015
  • I think that this is a 'no-brainer' and whether we like it or not, we are now compelled (in an increasingly competitive environment) to meet the needs of our users, including their preferred mechanisms of access. Extending on the Thornburg comment quoted by Ole above, 'we are no-longer able to dictate to them our means of their access but must support their desired means of access'.- kevin.ashford-rowe kevin.ashford-rowe Oct 3, 2015 - ole ole Oct 5, 2015 - kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015- neil.witt neil.witt Oct 25, 2015
  • I agree. Our university has been developing its wifi capability across the entire campus, and ensuring teaching rooms can handle lots of people 'on' simultaneously. Increasing numbers of students (and staff) regularly bring their own devices. Ou own faculty now has virtually paperless Academic Board meetings - we all bring laptops or tablets with the documents shared via Drive. (- n.wright n.wright Oct 4, 2015) - ole ole Oct 5, 2015 - helga helga Oct 6, 2015
  • Effective BYOD is necessary so that the campus remains relevant to the learning eco-system.
    There is overlap of BYOD, Mobile Learning, Online Learning, and Experiential Learning or credit for prior learning. All of these are a part of one shift - a kind of blended-experiential learning. Heck, in this century it's just learning (period). This mashup of technology and technique is catching-up with the fact that learning is a constant not confined to time or place. - brad.hinson brad.hinson Oct 9, 2015 - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015 - kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015
  • It's becoming increasingly popular as students have a degree of comfort with their device of choice. It fills the gap in tech resources provided by the insitution. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 12, 2015~
  • It is increasingly common that students are demanding their device of choice be accommodated in assignments. This is potentially leading to a new digital divide as student with better devices are producing better work. - billshewbridge billshewbridge Oct 19, 2015
  • So the haves do better and the have nots do worse... 'Twas ever thus. We decided to give all of the students in one of our schools iPads, so that everyone had access to the same technologies. So far so good. Trouble is, iPads are very good for consumption, not so good at creation e.g. great for watching video content, not so good when you have to type an essay. So... the rich kids use the MacBook Pros they brought with them, whilst the poor kids use the campus computer labs. And so the digital divide opens up once more. Of course the rich kids have also got their iPhones, whilst the poor kids struggle with Android or, Lord help them, Windows Mobile phones. So the Apple kids live in an interconnected world of freedom and joy, whilst the non-Apple kids flounder around wondering which one of their unconnected devices they took their notes on... Don't even get me started on wifi infrastructure. Every student has not one, but two, three or four devices all working in parallel. No wonder the wifi fails. A room for 100 students needs to support 400 devices. It should come as no surprise that the academic at the front of the room can't access the VLE. (- damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 20, 2015
  • The have and have nots is a Big Problem. Not all students can afford BYODs. Though this is a convenient/innovative in HE how do institutions solve the problem. http://www.nacr.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Avaya_THE-Journal-Whitepaper_Mobile-Learning-Preparing-for-BYOD.pdf
    - astoute astoute Oct 25, 2015
  • Not convinced on the Apple 'rich', Android 'poor' argument. It's about personal choice. Institutions need to acknowledge hat they need to support a variety of devices. Typical UK figure are Tablet ownership - 59% of students. Of this iPad = 38% - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 25, 2015.
  • Students use technology in their personal lives and they will use it in the professional lives. It's important that they know how to navigate in a digital world. With a shift towards e-books (true interactive textbooks, not just PDF versions of the paper books), BYOD is a natural fit. In our school, wifi is certainly an issue, but power is an equally important issue. Classrooms are being retrofitted to provide power from wherever a student sits. - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015
  • A considerable amount of research that provides evidence about BYOD effectiveness exists. BYOD approach enhances learning experience inside class (pre- and post- lecture student polling, formative assessment) and therefore is suitable for delivering learning and assessment in large audiences in lecture halls. Also BYOD is suitable for learning outside class (location-based learning e.g. field trips museums visits) using the inquiry-based model (developing questions and doing in-situ observations and research to answer them) and therefore it can effectively support STEM education. http://conta.uom.gr/conta/filter_pub.php?filter=34&lang=en - Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 23, 2015 - DaveP DaveP Oct 24, 2015 agree the digital divide needs to be considered here
  • By 2017, Gartner predicts that half of all employers will require staff to provide their own work devices.
    http://www.itproportal.com/2015/08/23/byod-not-byod-mobile-dilemma-facing-businesses/#ixzz3pVy8ZN2Y this will also reverberate through HE, do Universities still need to provide thousands of fixed PCs? An interim solution perhaps points to laptop or device loans which may also address the digital divide - DaveP DaveP Oct 24, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • the IT infrastructure is crucial, as is the relevant staff to trouble-shoot. BYOD also has implications for how learning happens - it is no longer sensible to have students face a 'sea of blah' - ie being talked at for an hour at a time. Greater interactivity is necessary to leverage the affordances of connectivity. (- n.wright n.wright Oct 4, 2015) - brad.hinson brad.hinson Oct 9, 2015 - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015
  • Edu-IT centers/departments should be looking out for new and/or improved technology, evaluate its potential, and constantly inform faculty about the new opportunities and trends. We're back at one of the most important issues: faculty development - teaching and training. - ole ole Oct 5, 2015 - helga helga Oct 6, 2015
  • BYOD tends to gravitate to discussion of infrastructure, hardware, network, etc. I believe this marginalizes the pedagogical importance of fluid connectivity - the learning ecosystem, mobile learning, etc. - brad.hinson brad.hinson Oct 9, 2015 - kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015
  • BYOD is another area where we often miss the ends by focusing too much on the means. For several years now I've assumed that, even in a community college population, most students will have their own devices. For several years now I've adopted a "supplemental" technology strategy. That is, have some technology available of the students for those that are lagging behind the curve, so in rooms that require heavy technology use, for instance, I may put 10 laptops or tablets, so that those who don't have any D's to BYO are still served. BYOD is a proxy for an ubiquitous learning environment and there are a large number of projects needing to be done to leverage that opportunity. The interface device is no longer the major issue. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 19, 2015
  • We often assume that it is just the staff that need the training, but we have found that the majority of students are far from the "Digital Natives" we presumed them to be, and they too need training in how to use technology, especially in an educational context. (- damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 20, 2015) we have found this to be true as well. Students know how to Facebook and tweet, but can have difficulty with the LMS and school email. At the beginning of the year, we have a mandatory orientation session with IT that helps the students to get set up on the college systems. This reduces alot of frustration on the students. - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015
  • A roadmap, guidelines and support from policy makers should be introduced. Also, the device ownership issue (for those who cannot afford them) should be resolved (by appropriate logistic and financial school strategies). - Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 23, 2015
  • BYOD needs to be seen as both a user-initiated access point (e.g., ad hoc, individual choice) as well as a part of the designed activity/environment (e.g., polling, searching, thinking, etc. tools). I see little addressing of the latter in our notes here thus far. It takes a bit of effort to think about how to make sure that students can participate equally despite the type of device they have (or their lack of device). We are not at 100% adoption/saturation yet, but the numbers are promising. See http://olc.onlinelearningconsortium.org/effective_practices/cell-phones-classroom-collaborative-or-calamitous and
    http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet. - kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015
  • In practical terms, BYOD often means that specific formats become a default: html, pdf, even PPT. University web sites increasingly *must* be adaptive in design. Some LMS's have phone apps. But most LMS's don't realize well on small devices. By contrast, an adaptive WordPress theme looks like an app when viewed on a small screen. Hence very common platforms and file formats increase their dominance, where tools with large code bases that can't easily be re-jiggered fall by the wayside. - edward.oneill edward.oneill Oct 25, 2015 - so surely institutions need to take a device agnostic approach for all systems? - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 25, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • Se my answer under (1). - ole ole Sep 28, 2015
  • greater flexibility in responding to students' own technologies and how they use them. This is being reflected in opening up spaces to be more social - eg ubiquitous on-campus wifi and charging stations, along with more moveable furniture to create clusters or individual spaces in contexts such as cafes. Less insistence by faculty on powering down devices in other contexts. - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015
  • greater variety of text types (video, images, blogs, digital texts) available for scrutiny and creation using individuals' devices.
  • fewer draconian firewalls but different kinds of digital security strategies - brad.hinson brad.hinson Oct 9, 2015
  • greater surveillance of devices - n.wright n.wright Sep 29, 2015
  • Just believe we have surpassed this topic. Maybe need to look at a revised topic...such as BYOT, allowing students to bring their own 'technology' to accomplish tasks, not a device. This may be similar but I see a difference which may further open the learning process for students. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Sep 29, 2015
  • This also requires a pedagogical approach that is not threatened by the use of multiple technologies in the classroom. - deborah.lee deborah.lee Oct 1, 2015 - helga helga Oct 6, 2015 - brad.hinson brad.hinson Oct 9, 2015 - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015 - kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015 - ask the student who should support them with their own device and they'll respond "my lecturer", so staff development is essential with BYOD - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 25, 2015
  • As well as 'greater flexibility in responding to students' own technologies and how they use them', I would add a requirement for us to gain a far better awareness of the prevailing technologies being used to access a learning experience and thus responding to them.- kevin.ashford-rowe kevin.ashford-rowe Oct 3, 2015 I strongly agree: bringing in own devices/technology would require for the teacher to have a good overview and understanding of those devices and technologies (cf. above: faculty development as mentioned by Ole) in order to support students´ work processes and also to bring all students up to par on how to use technologies to the best effect- helga helga Oct 6, 2015
  • Infrastructure and security needs to be upgraded to meet the exploding demand in this area. - deborah.cooke deborah.cooke Oct 12, 2015 - kelvin kelvin Oct 25, 2015
  • One of the major shortcomings of our educational model is that teaching and learning largely stop once you get outside the walls of the classroom (whether those are virtual or physical). BYOD offers us the opportunity to change that paradigm. Programs that leverage that give us the opportunity to change how we approach teaching and learning. However, it is important to focus on those projects and the environments to achieve those ends. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 19, 2015 - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015
  • I can see us gradually closing the open access campus computer labs, and moving towards providing devices for all students. iPads are shiny and popular, but probably not the answer due to their limited use in creating written assignments. Laptops probably get closer to what students actually need. We can fight about the O/S later. Of course we could always do away with typing up essays and dissertations as methods of assessment... that would change everything. (- damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Oct 20, 2015)
  • Teacher training in ways to utilize the tech that students bring is important. I have seen many reports from students at different schools who complain they have to purchase a device only to not use it (or not use it effectively) in the classroom. - lkoster lkoster Oct 22, 2015
  • BYOD in higher education will facilitate the students access to and management of educational resources, as well as the student-to-student and student-to-teacher interaction and collaboration. - Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 23, 2015
  • If an institution develops a BYOD policy for staff and students then the curriculum design process will require adjustment, technology and policy need to be aligned - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 25, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Not a project as such, but look at https://europe.wiseflow.net/ the digital exam tool used at my faculty at AU. The students bring their own device at examns and the security problems have been solved. It's of course not exactly what this discussion aims at, but there are quite a few elements of interest and importance, anyway.- ole ole Sep 28, 2015
  • The Creative Classrooms Lab (http://creative.eun.org/ ) is a pan European policy experimentation that collects evidence on the implementation, impact and up-scaling of 1:1 pedagogical approaches using tablets in European schools. - Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Anastasios.A.ECONOMIDES Oct 23, 2015
  • When a team of third-semester French instructors at USC made their own French exercise book, they chose pdf as format, because it was printable (unlike Kindle, for example). Students then used the pdf on phones, laptops, and tablets--as well as physically printing it. http://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/1/collaborative-faculty-etextbook-authoring-for-mastery-learning BYOD is also CYPC (Choose Your Platform Carefully).
    - edward.oneill edward.oneill Oct 25, 2015

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