Bans on student use of mobile devices exist for some good reasons—kids use them inappropriately at school and there are safety and security concerns. So why bother considering a change? There are six reasons to consider BYOD.
- Digital natives learn and live with technology. Most have and bring devices to school. Why not leverage the power?
- Most schools have an awkward mix of print and technology-based learning resources—often not quite enough of either. Making the shift to digital instructional materials can save money, extend access, and improve engagement.
- Honesty. We force our kids to sneak their device into school. A BYOD environment promotes healthy and appropriate technology use.
- A chance to close the digital divide. The historic cost of access devices and connectivity caused a big gap in the opportunity to learn. But the price of some tablets is less than a couple textbooks. By making the shift to digital, most schools can purchase enough access devices for low income students. Many schools will be able to flip from three or four students per computer to one or two devices per student over time.
- Take advantage of online assessment. Most states will shift most of their testing online by the 2014-15 school year. A coordinated effort to boost access to a defined set of testing conditions (screen size, timing, supervision) will improve computer access in many schools. Use the same timeline to shift to digital learning and BYOD.
- Expanded access yields expanded digital options. When every student as full digital access, it provides the platform for improved access to effective materials, online courses, and effective teachers.