02 August 2015

BYOD: Infographic

Here is an infographic I created for my final project. It is based on THIS essay.

BYOD in Schools

To What Extent Does a Successful BYOD Programme Affect the Engagement and Motivation of Secondary School Learners? 

This paper outlines current research into Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programmes in schools based on the experience of institutions currently employing the system. It explores the impact BYOD programmes have had on the engagement and motivation of secondary school learners, as well as the affect on achievement in tests and assessment in comparison to students not utilising mobile technologies in their learning. The experience of both private sector businesses and schools informs guidelines and advice for the successful implementation of a BYOD programme.

Whilst some see technology in education as a “democratizer”, as a way of allowing “students from all backgrounds to access the same resources and tools”, to others, it potentially causes “great harm, widening an already substantial achievement gap related to issues of equity” (Schwartz, 2013). However, as “children under 12 constitute one of the fastest growing segments of mobile technology users in the U.S.” (Shuler, 2004), failure to expose them to technology in school places them at a distinct disadvantage for their futures.

Equity of access to technology remains disparate because of a reluctance to expend precious budgets due to limited time or resources afforded to proper piloting of educational technology. Coupled with a lack of true experts in place to aid decision-making, or with conflicting views regarding best choices based on educators’ experiences and preferences, schools are hesitant to invest in technology that can often be out of date before the order even arrives. Much research suggests that a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme could offer an economical answer to this dilemma.

The practice of BYOD was first identified in the workplace in 2009. Rather than rejecting the trend of its employees in bringing their own devices to work, Intel Corporation senior leaders were “quick to embrace it as a means to cut costs and improve productivity” (Harkins, 2013). Four years later, the practice had become widespread in the workplace, where it was estimated that “fifty-seven percent of fulltime workers engage in some form of BYOD” (Fyfe-Mills, 2013). In education, BYOD is used to describe the same practice, applied to students who “bring and use personally owned devices in the classroom” (Sardone-Burns, 2014). BYOD programmes allow learners to utilise the technology they already own and know; rather than banning teenagers’ mobile technologies, schools embrace the readiness of these tools and welcome them into the classroom. This paper examines the impact that such an arrangement may have on the engagement and motivation of secondary school learners along with what is required to implement a successful BYOD programme.

BYOD: Motivation and engagement

The US Department of Education wants to “leverage digital technologies to personalize learning” (Schwartz, 2013) and initially, in the race towards educational technology integration, schools financed one-to-one (1:1) policies, where each student is given a computer to use for learning. Research suggests that this practice “increased student engagement and interest” (Bebell & O'Dwyer, 2010), however, the financial burden for this policy is substantial. As the use of effective technology is “recognized in government legislation and by national educational associations as essential in all learning environments” (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014), many schools see BYOD as a way to address this (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014), as BYOD “transits ownership of the devices to students with the expectation that they use their own devices (i.e. smart phones) for learning purposes” (Sardone- Burns, 2014).

Use of learners’ own mobile devices makes sense. They are familiar with them, they are “consistently used for the communication and informational needs of students” (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014) - and they are becoming ubiquitous. In a study conducted only two years ago, Madden et al (2013) found that seventy eight percent of teens had cell phones, forty-seven percent of which were smartphones. The thirty- seven percent of smartphone-owning teens was an increase from just twenty-three percent two years earlier (Madden et. al., 2013). In July 2012, a study conducted by Nielsen found that “58 percent of American children from 13- to 17-years-old owned a smartphone”, an increase of “more than 60 percent over the previous year” (Graham, 2015). In fiscal terms, BYOD is logical; bringing these mobile learning technologies to school may help “level the learning field, due to the relatively low cost” (Prensky, 2012) - but what is the impact on learning in terms of engagement and motivation?
Benefits of BYOD (K-12 Blueprint, 2015) 
Whilst research is still in the early stages, existing studies of the value of BYOD and mobile technologies have “demonstrated increases in student achievement, engagement, motivation, and research skills” (Bebell & O'Dwyer, 2010). In 2014, Cristol and Gimbert conducted a study of 8-10th graders using mobile learning devices (MLD) in the classroom and “the overall effect of the utilization of MLDs showed positive results in terms of student test scores” (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014). Their findings suggest that, “the average test score for those utilizing MLDs show a 25.5 point increase as compared to their peers who do not utilize MLDs” (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014). In an eighth grade maths class, results showed that “individuals enrolled in classes utilizing MLDs on a regular basis scored 65.95 points higher on average [when] compared to their peers who did not use MLDs in their classes” (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014). In a research study where students were allowed to use their cell phones on a state test, learners got 80 percent of the questions correct whilst “students taught the same material in the traditional way scored less; 40 percent correct” (Walling, 2012).

K-12 Blueprint (2015) 
Mobile technology has created ‘‘pockets of educational potential’’ (Shuler, 2004) that can break down barriers by allowing access to and processing of information “anywhere anytime” (Kim, et al., 2011). In Georgia, Forsyth County schools using BYOD found that “student interest in a network they could access with their own devices was high“ (Lacey, 2014) and in a survey of AP and NWP teachers conducted in 2013, findings concluded that 73% of teachers and/or their students “use their mobile phones in the classroom or to complete assignments” (Barseghian, 2013). Students want their teachers to “power up” rather than require them to “power down” for learning (Sardone-Burns, 2014) and mobile technology is “easy to access, promotes autonomous learning, motivates students to learn, encourages student collaboration and communication, and supports inquiry based instructional activities” (Roschelle & Pea, 2002). Katy ISD, a school in Texas, implemented BYOD in 2010, with the “ultimate goal” being “to increase student engagement in learning” (Lacey, 2014). They found that “an unexpected benefit of BYOD has been a decrease in disciplinary problems” because, failure to use devices appropriately means the learners “lose the privilege of BYOD” (Lacey, 2014) indicating high engagement and motivation in the use of devices for learning.

Whilst it appears that the use of mobile technologies increases engagement and has a positive impact on achievement, teachers remain sceptical. When questioned about the impact BYOD and the use of technology has on the gap between the most and least academically successful students, forty-four percent of teachers stated that technology is narrowing the gap, whilst fifty-six percent say it is widening the gap (Barseghian, 2013). Barseghian goes so far as to suggest that “today’s digital technologies are leading to greater disparities between affluent and disadvantaged schools and school districts”.

BYOD: Successful Implementation

It is essential that any educational technological policies implemented must aim to narrow or eliminate any gaps in achievement or equity and work towards improving “literacy, democracy, social mobility, economic equality and economic growth” (TechTarget, 2015). Research suggests that “when effective mobile learning is incorporated into a receptive learning environment, student achievement will increase” (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014) - the operative word being: effective. It is crucial that any BYOD programme be implemented with careful consideration and forethought in order to impact positively on the educational experience of all stakeholders, rather than serve to increase the digital divide.

The ‘Digital Divide’ was a term originally coined by Lloyd Morrisette to “describe the growing gap, or social exclusion, between those who have access to the new services of the information society, and those who do not” (P2P Foundation). It refers to the “gap between the underprivileged members of society...who do not have access to computers or the internet (sic); and the wealthy, middle-class, and young Americans living in urban and suburban areas who have access” (Stanford University).
Top BYOD Concerns (K-12 Blueprint, 2015) 
The National Education Association (NEA) has posed the question of whether schools should embrace BYOD (Chadband, 2012) as one of the biggest concerns is that “not every child can financially afford his own device which decreases the ability to be equitable because some students’ families cannot afford a device, creating the fundamental issue that not every student has access” (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014). Proper planning, therefore, must include consideration of access for all, including a borrowing program for students who do not have smart devices, training for teachers and awareness for parents, development of relevant and appropriate infrastructure and support through acceptable or responsible use policies, and a discussion of ground rules with students and teachers alike (Chadband, 2012).


Fifty-four percent of teachers surveyed stated that “all or almost all of their students have sufficient access to digital tools at school” but only eighteen percent “have access to the digital tools they need at home” (Barseghian, 2013). Consideration of students without smart phones is crucial, as BYOD programs “could increase the digital divide that earlier one-to-one initiatives were meant to narrow” (Chadband, 2012).

There are a variety of ways schools can address issues of access; “thirty-five percent of schools that currently use mobile learning devices offer financial aid for these devices to families who receive financial aid for tuition and other school expenses” (Booth, 2013). A ‘Tech Drive’ could be held for donations of unused (working) devices. Title I funds can be used to purchase devices for these students and local businesses who provide free Wi-Fi to can be asked to put a sticker in their window, so students know they can connect to the Internet there (Lacey, 2014). Everyone On (2015) is a non-profit organisation attempting to narrow the digital divide by offering “low-cost devices and Internet service” in an attempt to “give access to the estimated 100 million Americans who have no broadband connection at home and another 62 million who don’t use the Internet at all” (Schwartz, 2013). Connect2Compete is an organisation that addresses aspects of the digital divide in a flagship program for K-12 students by providing affordable Internet and devices to students and families that qualify for the National School Lunch Program (Everyone On, 2015).


Many statutes, such as The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2001) the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2000), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA, 2011), and National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS, 2006), expect that “every student receives access to age appropriate curricula through essential technological tools” (Cristol & Gimbert, 2014). It is recognised that “mobile technologies can support students with a variety of learning needs” (King-Sears, 2009) and many guidelines already exist to support schools in the implementation of sound technological programmes.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 2007, 2008) sets the standards for the use of technology in educational environments for both students and teachers. Using student knowledge and co-constructing learning is also an option, as forty-two percent of teachers suggest that, “their students usually know more than they do when it comes to using new digital technologies” (Barseghian, 2013). Incremental expansion should proceed in a logical fashion using existing frameworks, such as TPACK, TIP or SAMR models, to ensure technology is appropriate and transforms and redefines learning (Roblyer & Doering, 2013), (Thompson, 2014) and (Puentedura, 2013).

BYOD or some form of Ed-Tech training in teacher-preparation programmes is essential and can “aid in eliminating the existing barrier of a lack of quality training programs to incorporating technology into teaching and learning” (Sardone-Burns, 2014). For teachers already in-service, continuing professional development and support is also crucial. Some schools employ specialists and one recommendation is to have at least one Instructional Technology Specialist [ITS] assigned to every school (Thompson, 2014). These specialists can be essential in terms of support as well as expert guides in advising teachers “how technology-led lessons can be run” (Lacey, 2014). Some schools suggest that the “biggest challenge around beginning BYOD was explaining its value to parents” (Lacey, 2014) and this should be addressed early. Effective pre- and in-service teacher training can lead to successful parent awareness through education and the delivery of digital parenting workshops.

Infrastructure and Support

Administrators need to do more than prepare their network for a high influx of devices when implementing BYOD. Suggestions include:

1. Partnering with a vendor that has experience in installing high-density Wi-Fi.

2. Purchasing enough access points (APs) to handle all devices that will be in a classroom and in areas where students gather.

3. Balancing switchers and controllers to provide additional bandwidth to areas with high Wi-Fi usage.

4. Ensuring all users sign onto the designated BYOD network for accessing only filtered content.

5. Segmenting the network to keep confidential matters such as student records and administration details separated from the wireless access for personal devices (Frederick, 2015)

6. Choosing apps with heterogeneity in mind and, where possible, ensuring they are “device agnostic so all students can access them” (Lacey, 2014).

When it comes to diagnostics and technical issues, advice varies. Some schools implement a “ticketing system for connectivity problems” where “instructional tech specialists assist teachers with diagnosing issues with the devices”. Some schools however, have a policy that requires the students to know their devices well as “no district employees will diagnose, repair or work on students’ devices” (Lacey, 2014).

Policies & Safety

Despite the consideration of secondary school learners as “digital natives” (Prensky, 2006), when students bring their own devices many problems associated with social media may follow. Chadband (2012) warns of possible “BYOD hazards”, acknowledgement of which is crucial to the successful implementation of a programme. Many students, for example, don’t understand how much they should share online, and they may post “information that could jeopardize their academic, or even professional, futures” (Sardone-Burns, 2014).

Lacey, (2014) advocates the development of acceptable use guidelines, which all students must sign. Other suggestions include responsible use policies, which can be simply guidelines or go so far as to require students to “register their devices by providing the make and model, serial number and network/MAC address for all network adaptors where applicable” (Lacey, 2014). Overall, businesses and schools agree that clear and transparent guidelines must be made transparent and communicated to all stakeholders to ensure everyone knows what is and is not acceptable.

BYOD: Conclusion

With “proper design and planning, technology can become capable of delivering education” (Carnoy and Rhoten 2002) and mobile technology, in particular, “with its low cost and accessibility, has great potential to provide access to or supplement education” (Zurita and Nussbaum (2004) in Kim, et al., (2011). “Tomorrow’s work force is today’s K-12 and college students” (Sardone-Burns, 2014), therefore educators have a responsibility to prepare this work force for the way their world will operate - and many workplaces are already using BYOD. Adoption of a properly implemented BYOD programme, where “students bring their own devices to school for educational purposes” makes educational and fiscal sense not only as it increases motivation, achievement, and engagement for learners, it reduces costs for schools and “frees up districts’ to provide devices for only those who cannot provide devices for themselves” (Costa, 2013). BYOD policies therefore have the power to “effectively supplement school programs, especially for communities where general technology infrastructure and educational resources may be seriously lacking” (Kim, et al., 2011).

Sound pedagogical practices must underpin all educators’ decisions in terms of technology use in the classroom, such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles of “innovative design and delivery of instruction”, and a successfully implemented BYOD programme can be seen as a school being dedicated to taking “critical steps in the technology transition” (Lacey, 2014). Essentially, BYOD and mobile technologies are seen as “schools’ last best chance to make the needed immediate leap to a digital learning environment” (Costa, 2013). Implementing a well thought out BYOD programme allows students to use their own devices in the classroom which engages and empowers them, as they have at their disposal, “the tools they use to navigate the world...the tools [they] are most comfortable with, which, according to Tucker (2015) are “two factors that translate into more meaningful, relevant, and engaged learning”.

According to Project Tomorrow (2014), only twenty-two percent of principals allowed students to use their own devices in 2010, a figure that rose to forty-one percent in 2013. In 2010, only three percent of schools in the USA had adopted the use of full scale BYOD, a figure that had grown to ten percent by 2013 (Project Tomorrow, 2014). Only ten percent of learners are able to navigate their learning in a way that is familiar to them. This means that ninety percent of schools still do not allow mobile technologies into the classroom despite a study by the Pew Research Center concluding that “77% of young people ages 12-17 have cellphones” and that “one in four has a smartphone”. What is most interesting about this research is that, “the study found no differences in smartphone ownership across racial, income, or ethnic lines” (Shane, 2012) meaning that mobile learning and the adoption of BYOD programmes have “the potential to influence educational development in a social context” (Kim, et al., 2011). Technology can be a powerful means to increase access to learning opportunities and to a broader information society (Cummins and Sayers (1995) in Kim, et al., (2011)) suggesting that the digital divide is not longer one due to simple socio-economic terms, but one that widens due to the opportunities and advantages provided within the classroom.


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