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Genee World: Is BYOD the answer to shrinking IT budgets?

OpinionTechnology
By Heather McLean | 18 July 2017
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Create DateJuly 18, 2017
Last UpdatedJuly 17, 2017

By Ranjit Singh, CEO at Genee World.

Everywhere you go, forms of technology surround us; mobile phones, laptops, wearable technology, near field communication-enabled bus stops, the list is endless. It’s embedded into our everyday lives, and businesses are no different, with employees using their own phones, tablets and laptops at work. Yet while these bring your own device (BYOD) schemes are common amongst businesses, schools are yet to decide whether it’s a viable alternative to school-owned edtech.

Unsurprisingly, children know technology inside out, therefore implementing any form of edtech into the classroom should seem second nature to them. So surely then it makes sense to embed this familiarity within the classroom environment through the use of BYOD?

According to the most recent survey of schools across the US and Britain, 44% reported that students were allowed to use their own devices in the classroom. This way of working is slowly gathering pace, but with IT budgets being squeezed, perhaps it’s time for schools to give BYOD some more thought.

Cost savings

Being able to buy the latest devices or edtech isn’t always possible, and this is where BYOD can be particularly valuable. Generally speaking, students own the most up to date smartphones and tablets, meaning that schools not only save money, but also have the reassurance that their students already know exactly how to use the technology.

BYOD can also benefit staff, as using their own devices also presents more flexibility. For example, they no longer need to be tied to the front of the classroom. Instead, they can mirror content, tasks and activities from their phones onto the whiteboard, or onto students’ devices. This allows them to monitor students’ work in real-time and help individuals who might be struggling with tasks.

Working together

While schools may only have one tablet for every two or more students, BYOD schemes mean that each student has access to a device, and an equal opportunity for learning. This can encourage collaboration too. Activities can be divided between team members so that while they’re using separate devices, they must work together in order to complete the overall task.

One concern is that BYOD presents an opening for distraction. How can staff ensure students aren’t trawling Facebook instead of doing classwork? This makes it important to have effective management tools and a strong policy in place. For example, ensure every device is managed through the school’s secure networks, the appropriate classroom management filters are in place to turn cameras off or shut down particular websites, as well as distributing and removing apps.

Being able to effectively manage devices will mean that in-school disruption is minimised. Backed up by a strict policy, this will ensure that teachers and students have a solid understanding of BYOD, and that all the responsibilities and processes are reflected accurately. Only then will this way of working be the answer to maintaining effective teaching and learning, regardless of the IT budget.

Genee World is a manufacturer and supplier of ICT equipment, including interactive whiteboards, visualisers, interactive displays and learning technology.


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