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Why You Should Give a BYOD Classroom a Shot!

opinion

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classrooms are becoming more and more popular, and with good reason--implemented correctly, the BYOD model can change the way you teach.

The 'Bring Your Own Device' Revolution

Do you want to engage students and make the learning process more enjoyable for them? One great method is to meet students where they are and communicate in a way that's comfortable to them. For the modern student, that means technology. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), offers a classroom model that capitalizes on the technology students already know and love.

While some argue against BYOD initiatives--citing distractions, cyberbullying, online threats, and social stigmas based on device variation--there is no denying technology's role in today's society. Students and teachers alike own and operate their own devices on a daily basis, and while BYOD is still in its early stages, many are beginning to realize the inevitability of incorporating personal technology into classrooms.

Students are already utilizing technology in learning.

How BYOD Classrooms are Beneficial to Teachers

If BYOD programs are implemented purposefully, they can have a profound and positive impact on how teachers convey information, interact with students, and foster learning success inside and outside the classroom.

Tailoring Learning to the Students

As an educator, the BYOD model opens up a multitude of teaching options that make it easier to reach all students. This means teachers can be more effective at conveying lessons without stretching themselves too thin. Teachers can instead take advantage of the online platforms to interact with students, provide resources, answer questions, and expand on more complex topics, all in one place, easily accessed by students at their leisure.

Expanded Teaching Possibilities

The potential for student collaboration has never been so great, which is a gift to teachers everywhere. There are tremendous prospects available for teaming up now, and educators can capitalize on the interactive nature of technology to create assignments and learning opportunities that wouldn't have been possible in years past. Add to that, concepts like note-sharing, student forums, and working from various locations, and the possibilities are limitless.

Saving Schools Money

Since today's students already own and use their own technology, it is ultimately more economical to have them utilize what they already own in the classroom. It can be costly and exhaustive for schools to furnish every student with technology, and since each year brings new developments, keeping up with what's current can be impossible on the large scale of a school.

Why BYOD Classrooms are Beneficial to Students

From the student perspective, the BYOD model can be wonderful, since it allows them to work with the devices they're not only comfortable with, but excited to use.

Teaching Students to be Independent

It puts learning in the hands of the students, creating more independence and autonomy. Students who know how to navigate the educational landscape do better in school and in life, and ensuring that students get a chance to practice the real-world applications of information gathering and consolidation in a classroom setting makes it far more likely that students will succeed in the long run.

Increasing Student Participation

When students are allowed to bring in their own devices and interact with the class material in such a personal way, they feel engaged, encouraged, and excited. BYOD implementation in a classroom is usually accompanied by an increase in student participation and classroom interaction. This means happier students who are more interested in the learning process, which helps everyone.

Establishing Good Habits From The Start

Since one of the stated concerns from those against BYOD programs is the misuse of the technology, it makes more sense to bring technology to the forefront and teach students how to handle internet access responsibly. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and the internet are a part of our everyday lives now, and children need to learn to utilize these tools without harming themselves or others.

The problems of cyberbullying or seeking inappropriate material online won't simply vanish if they're ignored; rather, the longer students go without guidance, the more likely they are to get themselves into trouble. Bringing technology into the classroom can help establish healthy browsing habits early on, and teach students how to use their devices for more than play and socialization.

Teachers can be valuable guides to students.

How to Approach a BYOD Program

It is important to take the time and create a plan of action before implementing BYOD practices in a classroom. Communicating with parents and students in advance ensures that any uneasiness regarding the shift is dealt with, questions are answered, and everyone is ready for the new classroom model. Do plenty of research and see how other schools have had success with changing things up (and learn from how they handled bumps in the road).

Teach Thought has provided a list of resources for anyone interested in going the BYOD route in their classroom, including ways to approach students and parents so that the notion is well-received.

Remember to come to this with an open mind. Be prepared to hear the bad and the good, and weigh those factors against your own experiences. Every school is different, every classroom is unique, and every teacher has their own methods. BYOD might work fantastically for some and terribly for others, but it's worth looking into, and could be a game changer.

BYOD: The Classroom of the Future?

Students can learn to work together like never before.

Technology is no longer a luxury; it is an integral part of the world and will continue to grow in importance with each passing year. Students must be versed in not only the entertaining aspects of personal devices, but the practical applications and research methods available to them.

By ensuring that students associate technology with learning, teachers can help students create lifelong habits of asking questions, seeking answers, and expanding their horizons. Creating a world where individuals are empowered and excited about learning starts today, and BYOD classrooms can be a huge step in that direction.

By Elena Jacob
January 2017
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