The term “BYOD” is a growing buzzword that has the world of education on its toes, awaiting the next tech-meets-education revolution. BYOD, short for Bring Your Own Device, has bridged the digital gap between traditional K-12 systems and the gadgets and Web-based platforms the younger generation has grown up with.
Tech marketers, schools, government agencies and Web entrepreneurs have recognized this dynamic shift and are leading the charge to change the way we use technology in education.
Reaching Out to a Wireless Generation
The leading device manufacturers are penetrating the market with tools that are integral to our daily lives. There are iPhones from Apple, Android devices via Google, Samsung Galaxy phones, the Dell Inspiron Ultrabook and even resurging Blackberry devices. All of these have become mainstays in homes and businesses, and the next frontier for these tech tools is the classroom.
Utilizing technology in the classroom is not a new concept. However, the decreasing cost of technology (especially smartphones) is helping place mobile technology into the hands of students. It’s now common to see students busily engaging with their phones and tablets during and in between classes.
Some schools are buying technology carts for students to use with devices they bring from home. Students use their phones to gain Web access to the school’s computers and help all the children in a classroom, even the have-nots. Here’s a short clip that explores that notion:
The Digital Divide
The introduction of laptops, tablets and smartphones has not only ushered in unlimited access to information and mobility, it’s changing education. Amplify, News Corporation’s educational venture, aims to revolutionize the K-12 system through their array of digital products and services for teachers, students and parents. The core offering of Amplify rests on the platform’s ability to deliver educational analytics and digital assessment for teachers and digital curricula for students.
Amplify recently unveiled a tablet specifically geared to their platform, similar to the business model Amazon introduced for their Kindle marketplace. The New York Times reports that the Amplify tablet had begun testing in hundreds of public schools nationwide. The goal is to provide a “blended” learning experience to the students through the Amplify platform.
Amplify is but one of the many hardware-and-services marketers trying to claim the market. Google, with their introduction of their models, has teamed up with Acer to provide Chromebooks at $199, which includes Web access, storage and SAAS (software as a service). Edcetera has provided an overview and questions whether a laptop heavily reliant on a wireless connection is viable in the classroom.
Transforming the Traditional Model
Unfortunately, school districts have encountered mounting strains due to budget cuts that make it virtually impossible to incorporate mobile devices and digital platforms into education. The BYOD model, in this circumstance, has seen glowing reception by many institutions and districts such as Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, Forsyth County Schools, Mankato Public School System, and others covered by Edudemic.com’s article about ten classrooms that have adopted BYOD.
Those classrooms that have rolled out and accepted a BYOD policy have seen positive responses from all stakeholders—IT staffers, educators, students, parents and administrators have found that adopting a BYOD policy helps engage students, reduces supplies budgets and delivers a quality, flexible experience.
A Bright Future for Education and the Tech Industry
There’s a culture of “cool” inherent in technology that makes a adopting a BYOD policy in the classroom appealing to students. Tech companies and software developers have also taken up the call of gamification in educational resources, according to a report in Technology Review. This concept creates a game out of learning, using achievements and social layers to make education feel less like learning.
Adopting new technology and policies that provide affordable options for students, teachers and parents will surely provide a bright future for each and every individual in the quest for knowledge.