Back to school season is just around the corner! Now that summer is over, it's time to get everything in place for the new school year — if you haven't already — and this is a perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at the use of and need for technology in the classroom.
If you haven't yet adopted a BYOD policy at your college or university, you might want to consider the benefits of BYOD for students, faculty, and the educational community as a whole. Here's a look at BYOD and how it can boost your school's productivity.
What is BYOD?
Given the recent proliferation of BYOD, you've probably heard of the term by now. For those who may not be entirely certain what this particular form of techie vernacular refers to, BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, and it has become a very popular technology policy both in the business world and in the education sector. EdTechReview reports in their study of over 500 IT professionals from U.S. campuses that nearly 89 percent of college and university respondents have adopted a BYOD policy.
Of the schools that have not adopted such policies, 84 percent state that their students and faculty frequently request BYOD. The policy allows faculty, staff, and students to use their own personal mobile devices while working at the office, researching in the library, writing a report in the computer lab, or as classroom technology.
The Benefits of Technology in the Classroom for Students and Faculty
BYOD for colleges offers students and faculty multiple critical benefits. Foremost, it allows them to use the devices they are already comfortable with, so digitally savvy students can tap the technology that best helps them learn, and faculty — including those who may be a bit technology-averse — can access the mobile devices they find easiest to use. Students tend to adopt the newest, most technologically advanced mobile devices, which makes it more likely that they will be able to take advantage of the personalized and immersive learning experiences those gadgets offer and use those digital tools to make more creative, multimodal projects and assignments.
Faculty and staff participating in BYOD can also take advantage of the flexibility it offers, using their personal mobile devices to keep on top of work and stay in touch with colleagues using education communication solutions while waiting at the doctor's office or traveling to a conference. This flexibility can come in especially handy in the event of a school cancellation due to inclement weather. If a major snowstorm hits, for example, faculty can fire up a videoconferencing session on their smartphone or tablet and still provide office hours or deliver an important lecture from the safety of their home.
BYOD for universities also helps schools significantly extend their budgets. Colleges and universities often don't have the funding to provide mobile devices to all students, but they can still ensure that students have access to technology in the classroom by empowering and encouraging them to use their personal mobile devices. They can also set aside budgetary resources to make sure that students with limited resources are able to participate. BYOD meets a strong student demand for mobile technology on campus, ensuring that the school remains competitive and attracts prospective students.
By allowing students, faculty, and staff to use the personal mobile devices of their choice to access school information resources, administrations can make their campuses more efficient, technology-friendly, and secure without the need for costly capital investments or burdensome administrative overhead expenditures.
The Benefits of BYOD for Administration
Colleges and universities can benefit administratively from BYOD as well. For starters, students that participate in a BYOD program can maintain and support their mobile devices on their own, reducing the administrative support required to provide up-to-date mobile technology at the school. BYOD also enhances security, ensuring that mobile devices that connect to the school's information resources are governed by strict guidelines that protect the network from being compromised.
When students, faculty, and staff participate in a BYOD program, they can also easily be integrated into an emergency school communication plan that helps the college or university keep everyone abreast of any urgent or timely safety and security announcements, such as automated text messages notifying the community to avoid a specific area of the campus until it has been secured. Likewise, faculty and staff who join a BYOD program can use their personal mobile devices to take part in important crisis response team calls via audio or voice, whether they're on campus or happen to be in another location.
BYOD is a powerful back to school technology that can greatly enhance a college or university's productivity and security as the fall semester approaches. By allowing students, faculty, and staff to use the personal mobile devices of choice to access school information resources, administrations can make their campuses more efficient, technology-friendly, and secure without the need for costly capital investments or burdensome administrative overhead expenditures.