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From the living room to the classroom: Introducing personal devices to education  

Chris Neath, Head of New Product Development here at LapCabby recently caught up with Education Technology, to discuss how implementing an effective BYOD initiative can allow educational establishments to overcome budget constraints to deliver comprehensive mobile learning.

“Technology has fundamentally changed the face of education as it falls in line with the societal trend towards digitisation. In the classroom, new platforms have been adopted and apps and devices introduced in order to provide the highest level of education for a generation of students native to technology.

However, technology is costly and we are currently witnessing a period where budgets for schools, colleges and universities are being slashed, not raised. In a perfect world, there would be a device for each and every student. But realistically this is not yet possible. Introducing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) structure could be the answer to this problem.”

Planning, integration and education

As Chris highlights, in order for the successful integration of personal devices into the curriculum there are a number of considerations to be made. The first point of action he mentions is the importance of communicating across all stakeholders when utilising technology, “organisations have to acknowledge that allowing students to use personal devices for school work will involve a learning curve. Therefore, schools and colleges should lay out expectations immediately. That way, all stakeholders, from staff and students through to families understand how best to use the devices in a safe manner.”

As establishments bring in BYOD schemes in a home or education environment the security and protection of technology and users become top priority, and this doesn’t just refer to the cyber security but also physical safety. “Security comes in a number of forms, and online security is paramount due to the fact that cyber crime is currently so prolific. The sensitive data educational organisations possess often makes them a target, and much like the medical sector, they are prone to attack. Therefore, organisations should look to enforce a number of application controls. These include whitelisting and blacklisting applications to prevent viruses from entering the network; preventing unapproved files from executing and downloading as well implementing a cloud-based web filtering system.”

As physical safety should also be addressed, within a school, storage solutions should be provided that allow devices to be safely stored and charged and students should be educated on how to safely use their technology away from the classroom.

So now you’ve got the tech, it’s been secured – what’s next?

The students, teachers and curriculum using these devices demand instant access and for a BYOD deployment to succeed, the technology must be accessible, charged and ready to go. When the device mesh involved with BYOD in a learning environment is taken into account a broad and flexible scope of charging services must be delivered.

As Chris summarised, “Every student will have a different make and model of device and all will need to be charged and synced in conjunction. If devices can’t be, then personal devices are rendered almost useless. If a student brings in a laptop but it dies, then their learning suffers. Similarly, if they are unable to access an online portal while at home, then they could be missing vital information to complete an assignment and miss a deadline.

With this in mind, organisations should look to ensure that their storage solutions house, charge and sync multiple devices – to be sure that the device mesh does not prevent students using their personal devices for learning.”

Read the full discussion with Education Technology, you can also find the article via Academy Today, IE Today and EdQuarter.

Are you already taking steps to deploy new devices, or BYOD initiative?

Check out our 7 step guide, to effectively deploying devices in Education, covering critical aspects such as online security, storage, software and infrastructure.

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