A Student-Centered BYOT Policy Template For Schools

byot-policy-by-teachthoughtA Student-Centered Universal BYOT Policy Template For Schools

by TeachThought Staff

ed note: This content has been updated and republished from a previous post

BYOT–which stands for Bring Your Own Technology–is a natural response to need for progressive learning tools in the 21st century classroom.

There are a variety of factors that contribute here, including the rapid growth of technology, planned obsolescence on behalf of the technology manufacturers, the cost of technology, the ubiquity of technology in the lives of many learners, and, on a larger scale, the continued explosion of age of information itself.

But it’s not without its challenges. While BYOT (or its twin, BYOD) can’t provide all of the answers–and creates challenges of its own, if your school or district is looking into BYOT, we thought it might be helpful to create a vague, universal BYOT policy and supporting framework that you could then modify to meet your specific needs. And to take it a step further, we wrote it in student-friendly language, because, after all, that’s the primary audience, yes?

This is a crowdsourced policy created for any school or district to use to create their own policies. Since every school or district is different, there can be no one-size-fits-all policy that works for everyone, but there are some basic ways any BYOT policy can be expected to function: to inform students, families, and teachers, to protect schools and districts, and to guide related policy and curriculum development.

As such, you may have experience that you can bring to the policy. If so, please see (and contribute to!) the crowdsourced version here. 

3 Notes

1. Every policy should be different. In that way, the categories and language that appear are simply placeholders for you to “C.R.E.A.M”: Combine, Remove, Exchange, Add, or Move to revise and create what works for you.

2. Also, we tried to use student-friendly language where it made sense, which is generally written for students in grade 6-12. Elementary school students may need some changes accordingly.

3. This is a working draft and policy template, not a copyrighted document. Please, copy and paste, share, pin, and otherwise link to however it helps you and the educators you work with. Also note that it will be updated as necessary, so you may want to bookmark the page to return to periodically as it takes shape.


TeachThought BYOT School Policy Template


To clearly and succinctly document our school or district’s policy for BYOT devices on-campus.


All students, school staff, parents, and visiting professionals that access school Wi-Fi networks, and/or use electronic devices to complete school work or self-directed learning or recreational activities while on-campus.


BYOT, an initialism for Bring Your Own Technology, refers to any student-owned electronic device used to complete assignments, projects, and other work in pursuit of mastery of a documented curriculum in a given content area.

What You Can Use:

A device is prohibited if it is or otherwise potentially hazardous to the health of users, staff, or students, or to hardware and software owned by the school or students. This means Android phones, iPhones, iPads, Google Tablets, Windows Phones, BlackBerry’s and other smartphones (or dumb phones) and tablets are approved if they allow you to complete your work without burdening school resources, or the academic performance of your peers.

When in Doubt, Ask:

Contact a school staff member right away and ask if you’re unsure about a resource, network, app, or any related device use. We want you to benefit academically from the use of your device without damaging your device, or getting yourself in trouble. When in doubt, ask.

Viruses & Malware:

Device security is the responsibility of the owner. Any device that threatens that security of your device, or the software and hardware around you needs to be turned off and/or otherwise corrected.

Other Risks:

Device theft, password security, damage from environment hazards and dropping, and interference from nearby devices are your responsibility to prevent, recognize, and/or correct.


This policy applies to on-Campus (on school property) and off-Campus in pursuit of completing school assignments and/or documented curriculum in a given content area.

Digital Citizenship:

One definition of digital citizenship is “the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on.” Keep this in mind every time you send a text, update a social media profile, share a selfie, or recommend a resource to a friend, at school or at home. Your digital actions and behavior are not only permanent, but deeply impact those around you, even if it’s not always immediately apparent how. You matter!


Training is not provided for use of individual devices, apps, or platforms. One of the goals of BYOT is for you to use a device that you’re comfortable with and accustomed to using under a variety of circumstances. If you can’t use the device, app, or website, try another. Ask your friends. Ask your family. Ask your teachers. There are a lot of great resources out there.

Bad Decisions:

Any device use outside of the documented curriculum goals of a given classroom is prohibited, and in some cases punishable by law. Disrespectful communication, cyberbullying, spamming, sexting, copyright infringement, trolling (yes, trolling is bad) circumventing district filters or related device monitoring, and other abuses of technology will be documented, possibly leading to the loss of BYOT privileges, and enforcement by relevant law enforcement agencies.

Your Rights

1. You have the right to not use your own device.

2. You have the right to a safe and intellectually learning environment.

3. You have the right to understand policies, rules, and other “school stuff” that is either vague or unclear.

4. You have a choice to follow the above guidelines, or to not follow the above guidelines. You have the choice to make good decisions, or not, to find “holes” in our policy or not, and to demonstrate digital citizenship or not. Integrity is what you do when no one’s looking, and showing the integrity you have inside of you is also your choice.

When you struggle making good decisions, we will respond in support of you, your peers, and the overall integrity of the learning in this school and district. In that way, you have a right to curriculum and instruction, but not to use your own devices to fulfill the obligations of that curriculum and instruction.

The learning is a right, but due to the extraordinary potential of a connected device, technology is not.


Enter appropriate school and district contacts for curricular, technical, and/or legal support.

Staff Training:

Staff will receive training to help them educate students and families on the purpose, logistics, and enforcement of this BYOD policy.

Supporting Documents:

School AUPs, Student Code of Conduct, curriculum, and other relevant legal documents (e.g., CSIP documents) will be updated to reflect our BYOT approach. 

Publication of Policy:

This policy will be posted publicly at the school, shared on school and district websites, distributed via social media, and be supplied on request.


The Short Version (based on policy at

BYOD Policy: Availability of Access

Access to the District’s wireless network, including the Internet, shall be made available to students, employees primarily for instructional and administrative purposes and in accordance with administrative regulations. Limited personal use of the system shall be permitted if the use:

  • Imposes no tangible cost to the District;
  • Does not unduly burden the District’s computer or network resources;
  • Has no adverse effect on an employee’s job performance or on a student’s academic performance


Access to the District’s electronic communications system is a privilege, not a right. All users shall be required to acknowledge receipt and understanding of all administrative regulations governing use of the system and shall agree in writing to comply with such regulations and guidelines. Noncompliance with applicable regulations may result in suspension or termination of privileges and other disciplinary action consistent with District policies.

Violations of law may result in criminal prosecution as well as disciplinary action by the District.





A Student-Centered Universal BYOT Policy Template For Schools

Podcast Technology

Ep. 18: #Edtech Talk With ISTE

TT podcast art ISTE

Ep. 18: #Edtech talk with the ISTE Chair of the Board of Directors

by Drew Perkins, Director of TeachThought Professional Development

This is episode 18 of the TeachThought Podcast!

In this episode Drew Perkins (Director of Professional Development at TeachThought) talks with Dr. Matt Harris about his work as the new Board Chair of ISTE, the refreshed ISTE Standards, teaching internationally and the integration of technology in teaching and learning.


Links & Resources Mentioned In This Episode:


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Thank You For Listening!

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Ep. 18: #Edtech talk with the ISTE Chair of the Board of Directors

The Future Of Learning

The Brutal Authenticity Of BYOD

byod-smartphone-ipad-schoolThe Brutal Authenticity Of BYOD

by Terry Heick

By its very nature, BYOD is authentic.

As students bring their own devices—and with them, their own apps, accounts, and tech-use patterns—what is is naturally revealed, for better or for worse. With the mounting (and completely logical) demand for better technology in classrooms, BYOD is one response to that pressure.

The Thinking Behind BYOD
“Digital natives” or not, technology dropped into the laps of students in schools isn’t always as accessible as it might be. By allowing students to bring in their own devices for learning–rather than insisting that they learn both content and device in school–there is an important opportunity to connect with not just their personal lives, but their natural way of doing things.

BYOD provides students not just with a device, but apps–and thus pathways–to solve problems. If you think this is a minor thing, stand in a middle school classroom with 32 students and watch a teacher coach—and coax–students through computer-based testing on a room full of laptops.

Unfamiliar software, unfamiliar hardware, and unfamiliar workflows are real barriers to student performance.

While the best teachers mitigate this ahead of time by supplying log-ins, double-checking passwords, pairing students, offering screenshots, modeling the process on a projector, this is a tremendous waste of what many districts call “instructional time,” and what students call “school.”

BYOD, on paper, attempts to solve a significant part of this issue.

The Shift
Starting in the spring of 2012, Georgia’s Forsyth County began allowing students to bring in their own devices. They installed a separate wireless network that offered filtered internet access. They trained teachers. Then they installed some ground rules, closed one eye and grimaced, fearful of what might happen.

And for the most part, it worked.

In a blog post on Innovative Educator, Tim Clark, District Instructional Technology Specialist (ITS) for Forsyth County Schools, explained the shift that occurred once students brought in their own technology. “As the teachers began to introduce BYOD* into their classrooms, some fundamental changes began to occur. They no longer had to teach their students about technology in order to integrate technology effectively in their classrooms because the students were already the experts with their own devices.”

But there’s more. Clark also touts more important benefits of BYOD—those that lead to better learning.

“This change in practice (adopting a BYOD program) can evolve as the teachers allow themselves to become collaborators with their students in the learning process. When the students first bring in their technology devices, they are immediately engaged and want to explore all of the possible capabilities of the technology. This initial phase of exploration passes quickly as the students become more literate in their devices and learn how to connect them to the BYOD wireless network. The teacher and the students then begin to adapt their technologies to their current classroom practices.”


Such expertise, though, assumes they have their own devices.

For poor students, especially those in poor urban and rural areas, a chance to “bring in their own device” could be an opportunity for embarrassment or bullying, exacerbating existing chasms between groups of learners. Even a Blackberry is laughable to the tech elitist. A flip phone, or, worse, no phone at all?

While economic disparity is very real, it turns out that in the United States, there is an emerging cultural reverence not just for technology, but specifically for smartphone technology. As a badge of social status, only the poorest students don’t have something in their pockets. And for the rest? Very acceptable Android devices can be had for less than $100, and used for half that.

Clark explains that in his experience, worst-case equity issues aren’t common.

“As I travel around the district, I find very few students above third or fourth grade who do not have their own devices, even in our schools who receive Title I assistance. Generally, many of the students who do not have their own devices are students in the primary grades who have yet to start asking their parents for more technology.”

While there are students who badly want technology and can’t afford even the $50, that doesn’t seem to be a strong argument against BYOD adoption, especially in light of what it costs—in time and money—to purchase, train, integrate, and maintain—state-funded, district-purchased, school-assigned devices. This is where schools, local organizations, and communities can step in.

Money and Learning
BYOD’s most powerful characteristic isn’t its frugality or charm, but rather its inherent transparency. These devices can be a window into the home life, economic status, or whiz-bang efficacy of an engaged student with a familiar device in-hand.

The San Diego Unified School District in California has spent over $15,000,000 in purchasing over 26,000 iPads. That’s fifteen million dollars. (And we see how that turned out.)

And that picture you have in your head of 26,000 iPads in the hands of all learners in the district is inaccurate. The iPads were bought primarily for use only in middle schools. So fifteen million dollars just for one device used at one level in one district.

In the United States there can be a tendency to throw money at problems that are not fully understood. As a nation, America lags behind internationally, the “learning market” being one of the few markets proving evasive in lieu of continued effort, struggle, and spending.

We might’ve learned by now, however, that money can’t fix everything. In fact, it can make things worse, as it offers the illusion of a “solution,” and gives enterprising entrepreneurs cause to package such solutions and dangle them like carrots. And being used to such patterns, we look outward for “options,” instead of inward, for what’s already here.

BYOD takes that and turns it upside down—or right-side up—by attempting to leverage existing assets that are natural to learners, and not subject to Draconian district policies. Even in economically suppressed areas this is not so much a challenge as an opportunity to reset at least some hint of the power balance back in favor of the student—and authenticity.

This doesn’t mean schools shouldn’t supplement student-sourced technology with their own. It also doesn’t mean that such implementation won’t be a struggle, or that it will work swimmingly every step of the way.

But it does improve transparency and authenticity, while encouraging learners to work with apps, programs, and hardware they’re familiar with and have experience trouble-shooting through. It empowers learners to solve problems, access resources, and even create their own workflow patterns if given the flexibility at the unit or lesson-level. And maybe most usefully, it provides a window into the homes and habits and access and digital literacy of students.

For better or for worse, this is at the core of student-centered learning.

Ed note: This post has been updated and republished from a 2012 article; The Brutal Authenticity Of BYOD; image attribution flickr flickeringbrad and byot


11 Sample Education BYOT Policies To Help You Create Your Own


We’re putting together some research for some upcoming BYOT policy content, and in the course of doing so found many existing policies enlightening.

For starters, it is clear that some districts were more open-minded entering their BYOT programs than others. Many “policies” (not included below) were really more of a set of rules and consequences for breaking the rules than they were a supporting framework for teachers and students.

In the end, every situation is different. There is no single “right way” to implement a BYOT program, so we’ve included 11 widely varying policy styles below, with each authoring school or district named inline.

Bowling Green High School “Bring Your Own Technology” (B.Y.O.T.)

Responsible Use Guidelines


Bowling Green High School uses instructional technology as one way of enhancing our mission to teach the skills, knowledge and behaviors students will need as responsible citizens in the global community.  Students learn collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking in a variety of ways throughout the school day.  In an effort to increase access to those 21st Century skills, BGHS will allow personal devices on our guest network and school grounds for students who follow the responsibilities stated in the Acceptable Use Policy and the attached guidelines regarding B.Y.O.T.

Bowling Green High School strives to provide appropriate and adequate technology to support instructional purposes.  The use of personal devices by students is optional, and students who do not participate in B.Y.O.T. will not be penalized and alternate modes of participation will be available.

An important component of B.Y.O.T will be education about appropriate online behaviors.  We will review cyber-safety rules with students frequently throughout the course of the school year and will offer reminders and reinforcement about safe online behaviors.  In addition to the rules outlined in these guidelines, students will be expected to comply with all class and school rules while using personal devices.  The use of technology is not a necessity but a privilege.  When abused, privileges will be taken away.

Device Types:

For the purpose of this program, the word “devices” will include: laptops, netbooks, cell phones, smart phones, IPods, IPads, tablets, and eReaders.  Please note that Nintendo DS (and/or other gaming devices with internet access) is not permissible at this time.


  • Students and parents/guardians participating in B.Y.O.T. must adhere to the Student Code of Conduct, Student Handbook, Acceptable Use Policy and all Board Policies, particularly Internet Acceptable Use. 
  • Each teacher has the discretion to allow and regulate the use of personal devices in the classroom and on specific projects.
  • Approved devices must be in silent mode while on school campus, unless otherwise allowed by a teacher.  Headphones may be used with teacher permission.
  • Devices may not be used to cheat on assignments, quizzes, or tests or for non-instructional purposes (such as making personal phone calls and text messaging).
  • Students may not use devices to record, transmit, or post photographic images or video of a person or persons on campus during school hours or during school activities, unless otherwise allowed by a teacher.
  • Devices may only be used to access computer files on internet sites which are relevant to the classroom curriculum.

Students and Parents/Guardians acknowledge that:

  • The school’s network filters will be applied to a device’s connection to the internet and any attempt to bypass the network filters is prohibited.
  • Students are prohibited from:Bowling Green High School is authorized to collect and examine any device that is suspected of causing technology problems or was the source of an attack or virus infection.
    • Bringing a device on premises that infects the network with a virus, Trojan, or program designed to damage, alter, destroy, or provide access to unauthorized data or information.
    • Processing or accessing information on school property related to “hacking.” Altering or bypassing network security policies.
  • Students and parents should be aware that devices are subject to search by school administrators if the device is suspected of a violation of the student code of conduct.  If the device is locked or password protected the student will be required to unlock the device at the request of a school administrator.
  • Printing from personal devices will not be possible at school.
  • Personal devices must be charged prior to school and run on battery power while at school. Charging of devices will not be permitted at BGHS.

Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Devices:

Each user is responsible for his/her own device and should use it responsibly and appropriately.  Bowling Green High School takes no responsibility for stolen, lost, or damaged devices, including lost or corrupted data on those devices.  While school employees will help students identify how to keep personal devices secure, students will have the final responsibility for securing their personal devices.  Please check with your homeowner’s policy regarding coverage of personal electronic devices, as many insurance policies can cover loss or damage.

Usage Charges:

Bowling Green High School is not responsible for any possible device charges to your account that might be incurred during approved school-related use.

Network Considerations:

Users should strive to maintain appropriate bandwidth for school-related work and communications.  All users will use the “BGHS Guest” wireless network to access the internet.  BGHS does not guarantee connectivity or the quality of the connection with personal devices.  Bowling Green ISD Technology department is not responsible for maintaining or troubleshooting student tech devices.

I understand and will abide by the above policy and guidelines.  I further understand that any violation is unethical and may result in the loss of my network and/or device privileges as well as other disciplinary action.  During the course of the school year, additional rules regarding the use of personal devices may be added.

___________________________                                                                  _______________

Signature of Student                                                                                                                                Date

_________________________                                                                      ______________

Signature of Parent/Guardian                                                                                                             Date


10 More Sample School BYOT Policies

1. Brentwood Middle School BYOT Policy

2. Central Carrabus High School BYOT Policy (Update: link has moved. Let us know in the comments if you find a current link.)

3. Queen of Peace Catholic School BYOT Policy (Update: link has moved. Let us know in the comments if you find a current link.)

4. Oak Hills School District BYOT Policy

5. Mount Olive Township School District BYOT Policy ((Update: link has moved. Let us know in the comments if you find a current link.)

6. Allen High School BYOT Policy

7. Corcoran Unified School District BYOT Policy (Update: link has moved. Let us know in the comments if you find a current link.)

8. Judson Independent School District BYOT Policy

9. Hanover Public Schools BYOT Policy 

10. ARP High School BYOT Policy

Image attribution flickr user flickeringbrad


4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program

flickeringbrad-byod4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program

By Peter Martini, COO, iboss Network Security

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is one of the fastest moving technology trends in the education industry. BYOD can increase student and teacher collaboration, extend learning beyond the traditional classroom walls and cut costs for many school districts. But despite its benefits, BYOD also presents challenges. One of the biggest roadblocks to adoption in the education sector is security.

To capitalize on the potential benefits of BYOD, districts must first address several security concerns and pain points. Ensuring technology is in place to tackle security challenges is essential to ensuring control over mobile access, preventing network vulnerabilities and safeguarding students.

Security challenges and solutions

Challenge 1: Establishing consistent access on BYOD devices for students and teachers

Solution: Identity-based access management for educational networks. There are technologies today that allow school districts to establish Web content policies and then adjust access according to a user’s identity. This directly solves the challenge of controlling information access. Districts’ IT staff can define users by role (faculty, staff, student or guest), and / or by granular characteristics like grade levels or location. In this manner, districts can enhance the user experience for students and teachers adopting mobile devices in the classroom, while ensuring security through identity-based policies for web and network access.

Schools can also use technology to control access to specific online social media sites, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. While these types of websites can hinder student productivity, students do need to access them on occasion for research projects and other activities. A school’s IT administrator can allow access to certain Facebook group pages, or enable students to view embedded YouTube videos on approved website, for example, to create a more flexible learning environment.

Challenge 2: Ensuring bandwidth to mission critical services are not interrupted by BYOD users

Solution: A recent CoSN survey revealed 99% of school districts identify a need for additional bandwidth and connectivity to support the explosion of devices on the network. Given most users carry more than one Internet connected device (i.e. smart phone and tablet), bandwidth consumption can easily quadruple overnight with a BYOD rollout.

Combine this with the fact that more critical services are moving to the cloud such as online testing, attendance and payroll, managing bandwidth is a real concern. Implementing bandwidth management and QoS (Quality of Service) technologies allow IT administrators to dynamically throttle recreational traffic while increasing mission critical access during times of peak consumption.

michigammunicipalleagueChallenge 3: Protecting against devices infected with malware.

Solution: Cyber threats are more sophisticated than ever before. Mobile devices are particularly high-risk as they can be compromised when brought outside a school’s network. Once that happens, devices can then infect systems and applications when they’re brought back in. Many cyber attackers recognize it is easier to compromise a user and go through the ‘front door’ (i.e. a user’s mobile device) to steal data, than it is to try to breach these services from a data center.

Allowing a mobile device onto the network that is infected with malware or botnets could lead to a critical loss of data and / or significant network corruption. School districts can mitigate these risks by deploying technologies such as behavioral DLP and IPS systems, which focus on securing against advanced persistent malware as well as known and unknown threats.

Challenge 4: Blocking access to restricted applications

Solution: Mobile devices introduce new complications including an ever growing list of Applications such as SnapChat, Facebook and other non-sanctioned application access not only impacts student productivity and slows network speeds, it can expose a district’s network up to outside threats. However, sometimes students or teachers download applications to improve processes. Such applications include file sharing services or video conferencing tools.

For this reason, rather than restricting activity and access to applications, schools should seek to enable productivity by ‘pushing’ approved applications to devices. For example, if a network detects a user accessing Box, but Dropbox is the approved app, a district can adopt technology that will send an email routing the user to the campus Dropbox account.

Location-based BYOD technologies on the market are being introduced that provide the ability to set web access policies not only by a users role (i.e. teacher versus student), but also the user’s physical location on the network. For example, the district’s IT department can restrict a student from accessing Facebook or YouTube while in the classroom, but can allow that access in the cafeteria.

Location-based BYOD web policies allow schools to adapt more flexible policies while retaining focus in the classroom. As more school districts across the country develop BYOD programs, security must be a key pillar in the planning and implementation process. The volume and variety of mobile devices brought onto the school network will only continue to increase. Security is critical to ensure the safe and effective benefits of BYOD.

Image attribution flickr user flickeringbrad and michiganmunicipality; 4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program


11 BYOD Apps That Keep The Focus On Content

11-byod-apps-that-keep-the-focus-on-content11 BYOD Apps That Keep The Focus On Content

The definition of “BYOD resources” is admittedly subjective.

Concerns around BYOD usually involve privacy and legal issues, but one of the primary points of BYOD is allowing students to access content and curriculum directly via devices they’re familiar with. The following 11 apps can be used in a BYOD classroom to help keep the focus on content and publication, rather than the aforementioned digital fences that academic institutions can sometimes get distracted by.

1. YouTube

One of the single-most popular apps on earth, regardless of platform or device, YouTube is the modern television, and is likely installed–or at least accessible–on every device in your students’ pockets.

2. Evernote

A note taking app that you can use across computers and mobile devices. The automatic sync feature allows you constant access to your information. In the classroom, students can use Evernote to take notes, develop their writing, and share their notes through email.

3. Dropbox

Teachers and students can easily share documents, pictures, and videos between multiple devices.

4. Google Drive

Students can develop their writing and share it with other students and teachers for feedback. Users can create documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows that automatically save.

5. Socrative

Teachers can easily assess students using Socrative by creating an online quiz or exit ticket that students can access on their mobile device or computer.

6. Padlet

Teachers create a wall where students can post their thoughts, pictures, and videos about a topic. Teachers can choose if the wall is shared just with the class or to the general public. It can even be added to your teacher website or blog.

7. WordPress

Teachers can start a blog to give students easy access to all the links they are using for lessons in the classroom.

8. Kid Blog

A safe site for students to create their own blogs to share with other students and the teacher.

9. Livebinders

Another way to organize and share information online with students. Teachers can collect articles, pictures, and links on different topics for lesson plans. LiveBinders also has several “binders” accessible to the public that are dedicated to BYOD

10. Discovery Education

A service that allows teachers to design lessons and gather links for students to explore. The free resources area includes a library of videos, pictures, articles, and lessons.

11. Tumblr

Tumblr in education doesn’t get much attention, which is odd because there may not be a simpler or more elegant way for students to share a wide variety of media, from text to images, video to gifs. And the best part? They’re familiar with it. They may not like when you “school up” their favorite app, but, well, that’s what we’re here for isn’t it?


A Teacher’s BYOT Handbook: 10 Checklists For Creating Your Plan

A Teacher’s BYOT Handbook: 10 Checklists For Creating Your Plan

A few weeks ago, we shared 11 sample BYOT policies to help you create your own.

Unlike some learning tools, BYOT resources have to be diverse because of the inherently flexible nature of BYOT. What works for one school or district may not for another.

Another challenge for educators looking for BYOT “stuff” is that what you’re finding is likely scattered all over the internet. Which makes the handbook of BYOT “stuff” that created (and grabonlee is hosting) all the more helpful. In it you’ll find 10 checklists for creating–or simply checking–your BYOT plan, covering the following topics.

1. Educational Objectives

2. Capacity Planning Checklist

3. Infrastructure Planning

4. Compliance

5. Secure Authentication

6. Management Options

7. Device Requirements

8. Professional Development

9. Parental Buy-In

10. Challenges (e.g., finding funds, equal access, etc.)


Smartphones In The Classroom: Working Smarter, Not Harder

stevegarfieldSmartphones In The Classroom: Working Smarter, Not Harder

by Dawn Casey-Rowe, Social Studies & Educational Technology Teacher

My smartphone changed my life. I can do everything I need to do on the road. I can buy my coffee. I can make a list of thoughts, participate in a Twitter chat, clip articles to my Evernote files, make Learnist boards, and post to my WordPress blogs on the fly. It’s literally revolutionized my productivity.

Mobile computing is the wave of the future. While the high school economics book still has a chapter on “balancing the checkbook,” I do my banking between grocery lines with mobile banking apps, rarely even seeing a check. I shop on Amazon, I send gifts remotely, and Google share important business and school materials for collaboration. Then I Skype or do a Google Hangout for remote collaboration.

Why, then must students use paper agendas, put their phones away, and use a pencil and paper?  Students can do so much with an iPhone (or an Android, or even a BlackBerry). It can truly help them work smarter, not harder. How?

BYOD in Motion

Although some schools have a “Bring Your Own Device” policy, many schools do not yet allow students to use their smartphones in class, even for educational purposes. This is a difficult situation for teachers who recognize the productivity gains that could be made–after all, we, as professionals, use this stuff all day.  With smartphones, a high school classroom without computers suddenly gains the power harnessed by the devices of the students, and a classroom with old computers does not have to worry about upgrading. We see immediate results in terms of student engagement, completed assignments, and access to higher-level information. Students’ first line of defense in finding a creative research solution is often their phone. Yet in many schools, this is breaking rules.

One day recently, I heard a voice drifting from the student computer area in my classroom. The student in front of the computer had her iPhone on the keyboard, Skyping. I’ve warned against an occasional text or tweet, but Skype seemed a bit extreme, even for me.

“Really?” I asked.  Phones are not yet allowed in our school.

“Miss, I’m talking to my cousin!” she gave me the “you’re interrupting” face.

“This makes this better how?” I inquired.  She was off Skype in thirty seconds, me standing at at the ready, holding my breath for the explanation.

“See, I couldn’t get this pie-chart just right and it wouldn’t embed where I wanted it. The numbers were wrong. She’s a computer person.”  We were doing an upper-level field research project that required use and interpretation of data. This student went straight for the expert in real time. It’s what I do all the time–use my network when I have a question. If this strategy is good enough for me, it should be used appropriately, for learning, for students. Networking and the use of technology are critical 21st century skills–these students are born with both innate abilities in both, which the learning environment should foster.

ipads-in-schoolStudents with disabilities report that apps help them in class, and some, like eighth-grader Sam, who presented to a full session at EdCamp Boston recently, articulate this well. Sam is a student with dyslexia who has had his iPad written into his Individualized Educational Plan. Sam reports that it’s not always easy to get his instructors to embrace the technology, however, because many misunderstand, feeling that he might not be on task, when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Sam showed off apps and techniques he uses for increasing productivity. There were apps that helped him chunk text better, that read to him and that help him understand meaning. This helps him be productive alongside his peers. The University of Michigan’s Dyslexia Help Page gives specific dyslexia-related apps, but seeing them in action with a real student, self-advocating to make the best use of technology to serve his needs was critical.

The Function of Mobile Technology

Mobile technology isn’t just for students with special needs. Every student can benefit from them.  Voice dictation is one example. Many students find writing stressful. It’s difficult for them to formulate an essay, but they can articulate advanced material with ease. By being trained in proper dictation techniques using the voice apps standard on the iPhone, students can dictate the body of an essay nearly in MLA format. I did a small training session before school one morning, and told them to try it out at home.  Suddenly, I started getting more written responses from students who never wrote much before.

Some feel that such apps have the potential to weaken a student’s ability to formulate written words and ideas. This is not true because students must still copy edit and revise their work, editing for punctuation, word choice, and the dreaded autocorrect or speech recognition problem. If you live in a state with a regional accent, which I do, this is a critical step indeed.

iPhone apps can be used out of the classroom to benefit students as well. Students can use their iPhone for fitness. Australian college student and future educator Emma Adams showcase a few of of the best fitness apps for the iPhone on her Learnist board, stating that they not only promote fitness, but cross over into math and science, hitting key standards as students discover health, nutrition, Body Mass Index calculation, caloric intake, and kinesiology.

In many respects, the iPhone is changing the way students learn. Social learning, immediate answers to questions, and access to higher-level material are paving the way for a new style of student. As educators, it is inherent on us to feel comfortable with this technology as we transition from teacher-centered environments of the past to student-centered technology-driven learning of the future.

Image attribution flickr users flickeringbrad and setevgarfield

The Future Of Learning

A Glimpse At The BYOD Device Of The Future


A Glimpse At The BYOD Device Of The Future

by TeachThought Staff

BYOD has changed how the barriers of tech adoption are seen.

First and foremost, they’re now visible (the barriers). Many schools and districts are finding that in the current organizational context, BYOD is not as simple as letting students bust out their new Android or iPhone in class. There are privacy, legal, and procedural considerations that schools–again, given their current organizational frameworks–must address.

But that’s for today’s smartphones. What about the smartphone of 5 years from now? And will a 2018 device be much of a phone at all?

The BYOD device (yes, this redundant bring-your-own-device device, but you get the idea) of 2018 will still be readily identifiable as part of the same genus as today’s devices. It will (probably) remain a slab of polished glass with lit pixels underneath. They’ll still buzz for incoming notifications and allow you to contact practically anyone, anywhere in the world, on command.

It will inevitably incorporate a subset of the aforementioned technologies, but also surprise us with unimaginable functionalities that lay far beyond mere extrapolation.

We’ll stop worrying about battery life, storage, computation and even devices. Almost everything will be processed and stored online, with the smartphone serving as a temporary buffer for information, and as a constantly uploading sensor for ambient data.

It will hide an explosive wealth of possibilities behind the screen.

It will not only react, but predict.

It won’t just connect learners with communities or data, but almost certainly will suggest these communities and relevant data given a context.

It will feature–or will soon feature–true artificial intelligence, including natural language translation, and the potential for a variety of diagnoses.

It will be entirely in the cloud, and nearly ubiquitous, with its humble roots as a mere telephone long gone.

It will enable learning systems to personalize learning through automatic personal learning algorithms, which will suggest new content, cognitive actions, products, or other actions based on a learner’s complete learning history.

It will be up to education to adapt to these devices–devices that come from home, are carried with the learner all the time, and feature the apps, cloud-services, input gestures, and basic user interaction patterns that are native to that learner, a reality that only becomes troubling when schools can’t adjust to this in real-time.

The following visual from Michell Zappa @mz on twitter) offers some of these ideas and more, overall a glimpse into how technology is changing, in terms of both pace and direction.

An irony? Figuratively speaking, the device will allow you to see through walls and at times will seem to be reading your mind but it will not feel “indistinguishable from magic.” It will, like every device has, at every step of the way, become part of our expectations and quotidian, and become the new normal.


20 BYOT Resources By Category

stevegarfield20 BYOT Resources By Category

by TeachThought Staff

Whether you call it BYOT or BYOD (technology vs device), it’s clear that as people become more attached to their mobile devices and as mobile devices become more customized and an extension of their owners, more schools and employers are permitting and even encouraging students and employees to bring their own devices to work.

Devices may include laptops, tablets, smartphones and more. As a result, many educators are scrambling to get a handle on the issues surrounding the “bring your own device” trend. Resources abound on this topic, and some are offered below.

General Overview, Best Practices

Bring Your Own Devices Best Practices Guide: A Practical Guide for Implementing BYOD Programs at Your Organization

This 16-page white paper, provided by Good Technology, offers dozens of questions to consider for organizations considering a BYOD program along with real best practices case studies.

YouTube video, Best Practices for Implementing a Bring Your Own Device Program

This in-depth video is 45 minutes long and presented by Val Hetrick, the director of customer success at MaaS360, an enterprise mobility management company.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy Guidebook: Questions to Ask and Best Practices to Consider

Presented by SAP, this guidebook offers best practice advice for any organization looking to implement a BYOD program.

BYOD Expert: Best Practices in Education

This is a video of a presentation given by Greg Kovich, director of strategic accounts for Alcatel-Lucent, to an audience of teachers, administrators and IT directors. He discusses best practices for initiating BYOD in a school district.


Bring your own device: Agility through consistent delivery

PricewaterhouseCoopers offers this white paper on the importance of security strategy in any BYOD program.

Cisco Bring Your Own Device: Device Freedom Without Compromising the IT Network

This white paper from Cisco discusses the challenges faced by IT departments in BYOD organizations and offers concrete information on how to overcome those challenges.

Case Studies

iPad in Business: Bring your own device.

This information sheet from Apple includes case studies of well known companies along with tips for establishing a policy and optimizing user experience.

Tool Kits, How to Guides, Tips

Bring Your Own Device Toolkit

This comprehensive kit from offers downloadable resources including “Getting Started with BYOD,” “Planning and Implementation Framework,” “Mobile Scenarios for K-12,” case studies, a teacher readiness checklist and more.

How to Launch a Successful BYOD Program

Public broadcaster KQED offers resources and steps to implementing a BYOD program in an educational setting.

6 Steps for Increasing Student Access with BYOD

Valuable information from a Minnesota-based school technology integration specialist.

How to make BYOD work for your schools

A comprehensive “how to” from eSchool News.

Bring Your Own Device to School

This discussion paper from Microsoft describes how to get started with a BYOD program from teaching, learning and IT management perspectives.

Blogs, Social Media

The Mobile Learner

This blog focuses on learning and teaching with mobile devices, with commentary on BYOD.

Bring Your Own IT

While this blog focuses on BYOD in business, it offers useful advice that translates easily to an educational environment.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at Live Binders

The binder authors have compiled this comprehensive “3-ring binder for the web” on BYOD for schools.

Transcript of Feb 2013 Web Chat

This informative chat is sponsored by AT&T and titled “Making BYOD Work in Schools.” It features Todd Yohey, superintendent of schools for the Oak Hills Local School District and Tim Clark, coordinator of instructional technology for Forsyth County Schools in Georgia.

BYOT Network

This blog, by Tim Clark, coordinator of IT for Forsyth County Schools in Georgia, features teacher spotlights, strategies and more.


Going BYOD

This graphic answers questions such as “why go BYOD?” and “Who has gone BYOD?” in an easy-to-follow, interesting format.

School District Guideline Examples

South Western School District

Located in Pennsylvania, this school district offers a comprehensive guide outlining benefits, issues, guidelines, and frequently asked questions regarding BYOD.

Forsyth County Schools of Georgia

This school district offers a BYOD overview along with offering tours to interested visitors to view its nationally recognized BYOT initiative in action.

About the Author: Kristin Marino writes about education and related topics; image attribution flickr user steveagarfield


4 Factors For BYOD Success In Schools


4 Factors For BYOD Success In Schools by Sig Behrens was originally published on

4 Factors For BYOD Success In Schools

Added by TeachThought Staff

Just a few years ago, the “smart money” for school districts was on 1:1 computing where schools issued each student a laptop. While there is a role for 1:1 initiatives, increasingly the dialogue has evolved to bring-your-own-device (BYOD), which focuses on the use of student-owned mobile devices, and for good reason. Research shows that “active learners” (students who have grown up with technology and expect it to be readily available) want to bring their own devices to school – and are driving changes in mobile phone use policies.

Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up National Research Project found that in the fall of 2010, nearly 50 percent of middle and high school students said they carried some type of smartphone – a 47 percent increase from fall 2009. The National School Board Association found that 63 percent of students use mobile devices in schools, even when prohibited.

But what does an effective BYOD policy look like? And how are districts overcoming the biggest challenges of mobile adoption: equity and access?

I’m learning a lot from the innovative schools and administrators Blackboard works with – educators who are successfully leveraging technology to enhance learning experiences for their students. They first tackle the real issue of how they want to use technology to improve teaching and learning. As a result, they create a clear strategy before making a purchase or developing a policy. Here are some effective practices from clients who went down the BYOD route.

Getting Started

If a school decides to adopt BYOD, a further challenge lies in finding the budget to not only to get a program off the ground, including bandwidth for school buildings and devices for students who don’t have them, but to maintain it. Several schools are overcoming this hurdle by seeking donor and government support according to Education Week’s Mobile Learning Costs Add Up report:

  • Through donated funds, St. Marys City School System in St. Marys, Ohio received free smartphones for six classes of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders and pays for broadband service and software licensing from the local provider. New phones are provided each year and the district expects the cost to drop as more students participate. This arrangement saved approximately $60,000 in startup costs by relying on the service provider’s infrastructure.
  • Many schools turn to E-Rate funding, a program for discounted telecommunications services from the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), a division of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The program provides 20 to 90 percent discounts for services based on location and need.


1. Student Preference

After forming a stable and effective BYOD policy, working with students’ technology preferences can be another challenge; today’s active learner wants more control over the education experience. Once you open the door to BYOD, you’re also inviting various experience levels using different devices, applications and technology systems.

Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Ca. relaxed its requirements for what applications students can use to complete assignments. For example, both PowerPoint (for PC/Android-based devices) and Keynote (for Mac/iPads) can be used for presentations. The school has found that students are more productive when they can make their own choices, as long as instructors can view and grade the end product.

2. Teacher Training

The reason for providing mobile access is to enhance education, so it’s important that teachers understand how to implement and use new digital tools effectively. To address this challenge and engage teachers, ongoing training is helpful to convey both the instructional value and the basics of the technology, even as it changes.

One example comes from Chillicothe City School District in Chillicothe, Ohio, where the teachers’ contract requires them to attend monthly training sessions to review mobile technology educational strategies, how to implement instructional apps in the classroom and other associated issues. Assistance with lesson plans, including examples of how to incorporate mobility, is also highly recommended.

3. Technical Support

The more devices attempting to access a network, the more access points and bandwidth required. In BYOD environments where students may have two or three devices, the demand for bandwidth is sure to increase. But there are other ways a BYOD program can alleviate the burden on the IT department.

For one, with BYOD, districts lessen the financial impact of hardware purchases. At Bishop O’Dowd, a BYOD policy leads to fewer service calls and repairs for the school. Romeo Baldeviso, chief information officer, points out, “The kids take much better care of their own equipment than they ever did with what we provided.”

Numerous districts using BYOD also report that students provide support and assistance to each other. This collaboration frees districts from technical support so that time and budget can be focused on instructional issues. As a result, students can use a variety of different devices and the district can focus on network and connectivity issues.

4. A Hybrid Approach

While BYOD has clear advantages for teachers and learners, there’s an alternate category of schools opting for a hybrid approach to solve equity and access challenges, but still benefit from BYOD.

In districts that have already purchased mobile devices, BYOD can be blended with 1:1 programs. Some schools provide district-owned devices to lower-income families or combine student devices with technology carts. The Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nev. implemented a BYOD policy along with a commitment to provide Wi-Fi at all schools. The district is also developing a 1:1 initiativefor students at two Title 1 middle schools.

For many districts, BYOD is more than the path of least resistance. The learning day is extended because devices travel home and students who adopt BYOD can personalize their learning tools, which drives usage. Regardless of opinion, mobile devices are in schools whether or not they are officially sanctioned. And because of their ubiquity, they are skewing the debate between 1:1 initiatives and BYOD. One thing is clear: After developing a plan to deliver 21st century education, schools and students need to work together to draft new policies for the era of active learning.

Image attribution flickr user seantoyer and lgper


20 BYOD Resources For The 21st Century School


by Hope Mulholland, TeachThought Intern

BYOD policies–Bring Your Own Device–allow schools to bring technology into the classroom with a “bottom-up” approach. Such an approach can save money, allow students to use their own devices, and encourage a student-centered approach to learning.

Recently we explained that “digital natives or not, technology dropped into the laps of students in schools isn’t always as accessible as it might be. By allowing students to bring in their own devices for learning–rather than insisting that they learn both content and device in school–there is an important opportunity to connect with not just their personal lives, but their natural way of doing things.” But when you allow students to bring in hundreds of unique devices into a formerly closed technology setting, chaos can result–which is where, unfortunately, policy can be necessary.

Below is a list of 20 resources to help you get started with BYOD in your school or classroom. We will follow this up with related supporting resources later this week.

iphone-ios-devices-in-learningArticles about BYOD

1. BYOD FAQ for Parents – BYOD is as much about the students as it is the policy. Here is an FAQ for families.

2. Cybraryman’s BYOD List – A diverse list of BYOD resources.

3. BYOL: Bring Your Own Laptop – A close look at one school’s effort to create a BYOD program for laptops.

4. 7 Tips for Establishing a Successful BYOD Policy –

5. BYOD: The Shortest Path To Student-Centered Learning – This article takes a look at the broader benefits of BYOD, including the potential for student-centered learning. 

6. Should Schools Embrace “Bring Your Own Device”? -This NEA Today article highlights some of the benefits and challenges of BYOD.

7. Digitally Aided Education, Using the Students’ Own Electronic Gear– This New York Times article discusses how some districts are embracing BYOD.

8. 10 Reasons To Consider BYOD In Education – This TeachThought article looks at 10 of the most common benefits of BYOD.

9. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in Schools – Considerations – 28 things to consider when planning a BYOD program.

10. How Teachers Make Cell Phones Work in the Classroom– Mindshift article about students using cell phones as an educational tool.

11. 10 Reasons BYOD is Impossible To Ignore – What is there to gain–or fear–from BYOD? Good question.

12. Forsyth County BYOD Implementation Notes – Notes from “ground zero” of BYOD Implementation

13. 10 Components Of A Successful BYOD Implementation – Adapted from an article from Eric Sheninger

14. BYOT Network – Teacher voices regarding the” BYOT experience”

15. BYOD Wiki – Various BYOD resources in wiki format

16. BYOD Rules & Policy – From Penncrest School District

Schools That Have BYOD Programs

17. Hanover Public School District– An example of how BYOD is being implemented in this Pennsylvania school district; Plus resources on digital citizenship.

18. Forsyth County Schools– Resources for parents and students are highlights of this Georgia school district’s Bring Your Own Technology website.

Web Resources

19. Edutopia – The downloadable Mobile Devices for Learning guide provides a comprehensive overview of BYOD.  It provides information about the different devices students may use and programs and resources that are useful in the classroom.

20. Pinterest– Several educators have put together BYOD boards on pinterest.  A pinterest board is a collection of links about a particular topic.


5 Tips For A Smoother BYOD Transition


5 Tips For A Smoother BYOD Transition by first appeared on

Students, faculty and school districts are rapidly embracing BYOD and the results have been a great success for some and a disappointment for others, so the goal here is to use lessons learned based on reviewing hundreds of BYOD (bring your own device) wireless installations.

All vendors will claim some “secret sauce” feature that solves all of your challenges, but we will avoid vendor-specific solutions and instead focus on accepted best practices. Before we begin, the most important point to remember is that most Wi-Fi deployments of only a few years back were focused on basic coverage, but today it’s about supporting and controlling the number of clients and at the same time providing the performance to support the educational applications.

In this blog we will cover the top five wireless considerations in introducing BYOD to your school and they are defining BYOD policies; growing client densities; managing the different devices; managing the classroom; and understanding the impact BYOD has on supporting classroom applications.

1. Define Policy

First is defining BYOD policy.

This is where everyone needs to start, just because a school district decides to support BYOD, it does not mean any and all types of devices need to be allowed network access. Maybe laptops, but not phones, maybe iPads, but not iPods, you can even define what operating systems are allowed as applications may limit devices that can be used in the classroom. Gather all stake holders IT, faculty, administrators, parents and even students. Clearly identify what will be allowed, what won’t, and what the consequences of misuse are.

2. Consider Signal Strength

Next is dealing with the growing device density.

A network designed to provide full coverage for hundreds of devices will fail when thousands show up. A strong signal does not compensate for too many clients sharing a single radio. This is a common problem; access points (APs) that in the past effectively supported 10 or so users are now supporting dozens, and even though they all have a strong signal the number of users sharing the limited bandwidth of the AP will significantly degrade network performance.

3. Manage The Devices

After dealing with the density issue, the next consideration is user and device management.

As mentioned above, the majority of wireless network management tools can identify device type and class. So in the classroom you may be able to allow laptops and tablets, but not iPhones and iPods. You can even link users and devices together, allowing a student or teacher full network access with one device type and then restricted access when using another device. Once again this goes back to defining and applying appropriate policies.

4. Manage The Classroom

There is also classroom management.

This is an extension to device management, district or student devices in the classroom can be controlled to focus students as well as improve learning. These tools allow teachers to monitor and control student’s desktops. Capabilities vary but at a minimum should include; Instructor visibility of student desktops, Interaction/collaboration between students and teacher devices, direct student-teacher Interaction, testing and the ability to restrict access to resources.

5. Know The Legal Bits

A final point, often overlooked is insuring that student devices support required educational applications as well as having legal access to them. Not all applications can run on all tablets and few are supported on smartphones. In addition, students bringing their own devices to class may not have the required application, say Photoshop. This begs the question of how they get access, does the District purchase many additional licenses or site licenses ($$) or force students to purchase costly software for a class ($$) or use some form of virtual desktop to allow temporary access (complexity)?

All points to be considered prior to implementing a BYOD solution.

The Future Of Learning

10 Trends In #edtech For 2013

At TeachThought, we often explore change in education, from education technology and mobile learning, to new learning models, curriculum, and frameworks.

So the following infographic seemed apt, as it laid-out 10 #edtech trends to look for in 2013. Most of them we’ve discussed before, but serving as a single overview seemed helpful, so here it is.

10 Trends In #edtech For 2013

1. More immersive SMS text messaging

2. Social media educating communities

3. Free university content

4. 3D printing

5. eBooks in universities

6. Cloud-based learning

7. Virtual counseling

8. Rise in Open Education Resources

9. Game-based Learning

10. Rise in BYOD adoption

Major Ed-Tech Trends for 2013


Infographic source


10 Reasons To Consider BYOD In Education


Education must move with the times. What can be done to reach a technology-savvy generation that relies on media every free second of their time? BYOD-Bring Your Own Device, a trend that is catching on quickly. Bring Your Own Device has transformed the classroom by creating new opportunities for learning.

Studies find that Generation Y is highly reliant on wireless devices and phones. And rather than fight it, educators can use this to their advantage.

  • In Millennians: A Portrait of the Next Generation, the researchers found that most of Generation Y prefers to connect wirelessly (81%) and the majority use social networking to connect with others (73%). Merging education with these devices seems a logical step.
  • C&R market research found that more students own a cell phone at younger ages: With 22 % owning a cell phone at ages 6-9, 60% of tweens (ages 10-14), and 84% of teens (ages 15-18). Since most students already own a cell phone by high school, it’s a resource that many educators are arguing should be used in the classroom. Much like calculators and ball point pens, it took a while for educators to accept the BYOD trend, but it is becoming commonly accepted.

Why Does BYOD Makes Sense For Educators?

1. BYOD is cost effective.
Computer labs are expensive and costly to replace. For example, many libraries are moving away from computer labs and actually leasing laptops for use in public facilities. BYOD eases the demand imposed on schools. It allows the most effective use of most recent technologies in the classroom, since students replace the technology themselves.

2. Embracing these tools makes education more interactive.
Technology can make learning fun and engaging! Teachers and students might create podcasts, use a software voting tool such as Polleverywhere, or design a digital scavenger hunt. The interactive nature of BYOD hones in on student learning.Digital books often include free supplemental resources, such as study guides, chapter outlines, and interactive tests that monitor progress and provide immediate feedback.

3. BYOD makes differential instruction easier.
Teachers can use media to meet different learning needs. BYOD allows students to be in control of their learning. Many tech tools can help students with disabilities or even translate words for ELL students.Gifted students can research more advanced applications and students who need practice can do so individually. For instance, some districts are using programs like Think through Math, which tutors students online in real time.

4. Portable devices make learning a part of students’ lives. 
BYOD bridges the gap between in school and at home learning. According to an article in edudemic about cell phone use in schools, learning becomes easier to achieve, as it is more collaborative. Students can integrate the device into their daily lives. Using Remind101, teachers can send email reminders or course syllabi. They might text each other to discuss homework or arrange social media study groups.

A free application called Studyboost, allows students to receive study questions via text. Cengage Brain even allows college students to use their cell phones or iPads to prepare for tests and read their digital e-books. Students might use their devices to break away in small discussion groups, with one taking notes and others finding relevant questions related to the class topic.

Kindle, Wikipedia, and Google books offer a list of free textbooks that students can access in the classroom.

5. BYOD is a manageable strategy with proper discipline rules.
For those who fear devices for the potential of rule bending, BYOD provides new learning opportunities. Educators can teach technology etiquette and ethics, which is becoming increasingly necessary. BYOD can be managed like any other resource in the classroom.Guidelines can be put in place to restrict use to learning. At the workplace, some employers are using Mobile Device Management software, which can mitigate the risk of sensitive information. In the future, this technology can be further adapted to the meet the needs of schools and prohibit inappropriate use.

6. BYOD saves learning time.
BYOD makes collaboration easier. Research can also be done faster. More diverse sources can be used to support learning. The alternative seems archaic: Go back to microfilms? I remember sitting for hours in the library looking at microfilms and reference shelves for articles. Educators might even educate students about how to evaluate and find the best resources in a particular field. Virtual walk-throughs are easy with technology at their fingertips.

7. Engaged learners are better learners.
Bring your own device puts students in a position of power over their learning. Many educational researchers argue that giving students the authority over their own learning is best: the teacher becomes a manager of learning, rather than a direct source of information. Students might use technology to formulate their own questions about topics, instead of having the teacher pose inquiries.

8. Bring your own device can be used to engage experts from outside the classroom.
Students can use communication features to engage in projects that require contacting the community or local leaders. In fact, millenniums are more likely than any other generation to contact leaders and engage in community service projects. Students can apply learning to real scenarios.For example, students might compare candidates’ political views from their website or advertise community projects on Facebook.

9. BYOD is becoming the norm in the workplace.
Educators have the responsibility to prepare the millennia generation to enter the workforce. Teaching students to use portable devices is necessary.According to Littler: Employment and Labor Law Solutions Worldwide, in an article titled, “The BYOD To Work Movement”, technology is blurring the line between work and pleasure. Little argues that employers should prepare to manage this “irreversible” trend due to the changing landscape of the nature of the “workplace”.

Many new employees choose a combination of working at home, or using after work hours to answer emails or attend to lower priority tasks related to their work day. Practice with BYOD in education will better prepare students to have a healthy work and life balance.

10. Some technology experts and CIOs are predicting the death of the personal computer.
The further proliferation of portable devices – tablets, phones, laptops, readers, and other portable devices (perhaps more powerful laptops and new types of “cloud” devices) will further influence how schools view BYOD policies.To talk about this trend, I contacted a software developer for cloud. He predicts that new cloud technologies will change education. When asked how cloud might be implemented, his reply was, “The sky is the limit.” Cloud will revolutionize education in ways never thought possible, such as through easy to access cloud libraries, interactive smart boards, and cloud computer labs.

Should Educators Jump On The BYOD Bandwagon?

Embracing technology early allows better implementation and quicker development of learning tools. Teachers can help shape the emerging technology. Demand creates an environment where companies will respond to the growing needs of educators.

Better tools will be implemented to meet the needs of students. Being an innovator gives teachers the chance to make these devices easier, friendlier, and safer to use in classrooms.

After all, isn’t it our responsibility as educators to provide the best possible resources available to our students?

This is a cross-post from; image attribution flickr user toehkl


10 Schools That Have Implemented BYOD Successfully

With budgets tight, many schools are hoping to bring technology into the classroom without having to shell out for a device for each student. A solution for many has been to make classes BYOD (short for “bring your own device”), which allows students to bring laptops, tablets, and smartphones from home and to use them in the classroom and share them with other students. It’s a promising idea, especially for schools that don’t have big tech budgets, but it has met with some criticism from those who don’t think that it’s a viable long-term or truly budget-conscious decision. Whether that’s the case is yet to be seen, but these stories of schools that have tried out BYOD programs seem to be largely positive, allowing educators and students to embrace technology in learning regardless of the limited resources they may have at hand.

1. Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy

This Florida college prep recently expanded its BYOD pilot program to include sixth through 12th grades. The school’s teachers have all expressed enthusiasm about how BYOD can enhance student learning, but each teacher has his or her own ways of using the devices in the classroom. Some teachers were using the tech for polling, some were looking up visuals or art techniques, others even taking pictures of assignments and notes on the board instead of writing them down, and still others using e-books to look up information. No matter how teachers were using the devices, the response has been largely positive, both from teachers and students. What can Holy Trinity teach us? That when it comes to BYOD, it pays not to be overly strict with how the devices can be used in the class, as greater freedom allows teachers to work with students to develop the best uses for technology for their subject matter and teaching style.

2. Forsyth County Schools

In recent years, Forsyth County Schools in Georgia have created an acceptable use policy, beefed up their infrastructure, and developed a pilot BYOD program that will soon roll out to all of the schools in the county. Yet Forsyth did one thing differently: they let each school determine individual rules about how and when BYOD tools will be used. As a result, the program isn’t the same for all schools, with students able to bring their devices to school at all Forsyth County schools but only allowed to use them in the classroom in 10 of the schools. The district has found that increasing technology in the classroom has come with some unexpected strings attached and has also necessitated the training and hiring of teachers who are willing to play the role of facilitator, letting students lead their learning. Administrators at the school say that it’s been a challenge to get all teachers on board but that they’re working hard to help them learn new ways of interacting with their students. The Forsyth pilot program illuminates both some of the pros and the cons of BYOD programs. BYOD requires much more than just changing tech policies and can sometimes mean overhauling the curriculum and spending money training teachers, though it does help students create a more personal and memorable learning experience.

3. Mankato Public School System

Cash-strapped MPSS in Minnesota joined the Bring Your Own Technology movement in 2011 as a way to bring new educational tech into the classroom without having to radically change their budget, something that the school didn’t really have the means to do. Director of media and technology Doug Johnson literally wrote the book on bringing technology into the classroom (it’s called The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide) and he thinks that the program has been working great so far, allowing the school to free up resources for other things and to provide technology for kids who don’t already have access. At Mankato, the BYOD program relies heavily on Google Docs and other tools that aren’t platform specific and that serve information to any Internet-accessible device, which points to one of the biggest problems with BYOD: managing a variety of different tech platforms. It can make things tricky, but not impossible, and Johnson believes that with the right infrastructure and bandwidth in place, students need little support to get up and running.

4. Allen Independent School District: When Allen Independent School District in Texas wanted to move its schools into the 21st century, it decided that one great way to do so without breaking the budget was by allowing students and teachers to bring their own tech tools into the classroom. Currently, just high school students are allowed the privilege, but others may soon be allowed to bring their own laptops and mobile devices as well. The school district has clearly defined their goals for the program and limited the freedom and range of devices in the classroom as well through an acceptable use policy. Students can only use devices during times that are approved by teachers and cannot use class time to troubleshoot tech problems. While the AISD program has been largely successful it does demonstrate that some of the problems that can arise with BYOD policies. Students can access restricted materials through a 3G plan, technology can cause distraction in the classroom, especially when it’s not working, and the IT required to support such a wide range of devices comes with a significant price tag.

5. Oak Hills Local School District

Oak Hills Local School District in Ohio has rolled out a BYOD program that permits both students and staff to bring in their own devices. The school jumped on the BYOD bandwagon because they believe using technology in the classroom will help to prepare students for work in the 21st century world. Before rolling out their program, OHLSD created a strict acceptable use policy, though what students can do is addressed just as much as what they can’t do. The school has shared articles documenting every part of the process of creating a BYOD plan on their blog, teaching others who are interested in the process how to do everything from build a portal to develop a physical infrastructure and staff that can support these devices. In addition, they’ve been carefully monitoring how the system is being used, finding that Android devices are used the most, followed by iPods, iPhones, and iPads. One of the coolest aspects of the OHLSD program? The school also built a virtual desktop system which can be accessed through any device students or teachers bring into school. So far, the virtual desktop and the BYOD program has saved them $1.27 million. The lesson here? BYOD programs are not only great ways to bring tech into the classroom, they can also save millions that can be used for other essential school programs and services.

6. Hopewell Valley Regional School District

Administrators at Hopewell Valley in New Jersey decided to stop trying to battle cell phone use at school and instead decided to integrate the phones into lesson plans for eighth-graders and high school students. Teachers and administrators have come up with some creative and fun ways to use the phones, from staging quiz shows to allowing shy students to ask questions. The move was both a cost-saving measure and a way to allow more flexibility for learning in the classroom. Administrators at the school acknowledge that students will likely use the phones for non-academic purposes at times, but the school doesn’t want to dwell on potential negatives, instead focusing on the amazing educational opportunities they can offer. Students are excited and, surprisingly, so are teachers, who are 80% in favor of the new tech policy. HVRSD teaches us that while cell phones can have drawbacks in the classroom, they can also be an asset, and even teachers can get excited to see them out and being used.

7. Katy Independent School District

Cell phones had long been a classroom disrupter at Texas’ Katy Independent School District, but the school decided to change that, starting its own phone-based pilot program in 2009. The school handed out 125 HTC smartphones to fifth graders at a single school that year, making a few major changes. The phones had no calling or texting features and were referred to by the school as “mobile learning devices.” Teachers reported that students were immediately more engaged and pulled into learning, whether they were taking notes, putting together presentations, even charting the stars. The school hasn’t tried to push the devices onto teachers who weren’t ready to try them out, but they have expanded the program. They’ve added more phones, upgraded the infrastructure, and just this year, allowed students to bring their own tech into the classroom. The results have been amazing. Not only are kids more interested in learning, their test scores are up, especially in math. The experiment with BYOD at KISD demonstrates that while technology can be a distraction, it can also be an amazing learning tool that can not only interest students but also help them to become higher achievers.

8. Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District

Students at New Jersey’s MARSD are allowed to bring in any mobile device they own, whether laptops, smartphones, or tablets. Teachers are reporting that students had an instant change in engagement, becoming more actively involved and working better together than before the program. The school has so far tried to create an environment that’s supportive of students and teachers, focusing on the fun and innovative ways the technology can be used rather than the potential pitfalls it might have. Administrators have said that their success relies heavily on staff training, strong infrastructure, and trust of students and teachers. So far, the results have been great, and some schools in this district have even added Nooks to the library that students can check out, loaded up with ebooks and other reading material. The key at these schools? Treating teachers and students with respect, extending trust, and being willing to embrace technology without many of the standard reservations.

9. Middletown Township Public Schools

Middletown Township Public Schools in New Jersey have recently rolled out a BYOD program. Instead of just laying out the rules and expecting students to follow them, the school district encourages students to take the lead, inviting them to make videos that demonstrate acceptable and unacceptable use of personal phones and computers. Middletown is also home to some seriously cool applications of mobile technology in the classroom as well through their BYOD program. Each year, students can take part in the Middletown Elementary Tech Challenge, which showcases projects that were produced using tech devices in the classroom. There’s also the Expo at Middletown High School, where more than 85 elementary through high school students teach technology classes and showcase technology applications to parents and community members. These innovative ideas are perhaps the best takeaways from the MTPS program, demonstrating that BYOD programs offer much more than a chance to use tech in the classroom- they teach real-world skills, too.

10. Escambia County Schools

The BYOD program at Escambia has been lauded for how it emphasizes Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance through its carefully worded acceptable use policy. As part of this, administrators in the district have established a “guest path” on the network to avoid students encountering sensitive data and to keep them safe. Booker T. Washington High School, a school within the Escambia district in Florida, has a new pilot program this year that opens up BYOD for ninth through 12th grade. The school is hoping that the added technology can be easily integrated into the curriculum and that it will be easier for students to access information that they can then apply to solve problems in the classroom. Because the district believes that BYOD programs can be confusing, they held a forum for parents before this past school year so that parents could ask and get answers to any questions they might have. While it’s too early to determine if the BYOD program at Escambia schools will be successful, they’re setting an amazing example by working hard to keep students safe and on task and involving parents in the process.

This is a cross-post from content partners at; Image attribution flickr user liecwf