Are You Ready for BYOD? Questions to Ask

Before launching a BYOD initiative there are many issues that require consideration. Review the list of questions. Use them to frame a discussion about BYOD at your school.

Electronic Device

Hardware

  • Can a student bring any device? (smartphone, tablet, netbook, e-readers, laptop, gaming console)
  • BYOD discussion questions

    Discussion questions for BYOD in schools.

  • Will there be minimal standards such as screen size, processing speed?
  • Do you want students to be able to use their devices to interact with existing technology such as interactive white boards?
  • Do you want teachers to manage content between devices?
  • Will your school offer students devices for purchase?
  • Will your school offer a leasing option to parents?
  • Will students be allowed to bring multiple devices? (e.g. smartphone and laptop)

Software

  • What apps will students be using?
  • Will the school or teacher specify or recommend apps?
  • Will teachers have access to a learning management system (LMS)?
    • Will they be able to pick their LMS?
    • Will they be told which LMS to use?
    • Will they receive training on how to effectively implement the LMS?
  • Who purchases apps?
    • Will your school offer educational pricing for software?
    • Will your school charge a user fee for apps?
  • Will the school require student devices have antivirus/malware protection?
  • Some apps require an email address to register. Will students be given a school email address or will parents need to sign their child up for an email account?

BYOD for schools

Equal Access

  • What alternatives will you offer students without devices to guarantee equality (lending library, computer lab, mobile cart, computers in classroom)?
  • How many devices would you need to ensure equality?
    • What type of device will you provide?
    • How often will this equipment be updated to avoid a device gap as technology advances?
  • What percentage of the student population likely has a device to bring in?

Education

  • What activities will students complete?
  • What measures will be taken by the teacher to make sure that students without a device are not penalized?
  • Are there e-book versions available for existing textbooks?
    • What is the cost to obtain the e-book version?
    • Will parents pay for an e-book version?
  • What classroom rules should be established for BYOD?

Usage

  • Where can the students use their device? In the classroom, library, hallway, gym, restroom, playground, school bus?
  • Should access be restricted during certain hours of the day? Can it be used before/after school, when changing classes, recess, or lunchtime?
  • Is device usage restricted to educational purposes or can students use it for other reasons?
  • Will students be able to print from their device?
  • Will students be able to use devices outside of school hours at school-sponsored events?

Users

  • Who can bring a device? (e.g. students, parents, teachers, volunteers, school contractors)
  • Will access be restricted by grade level?
  • Will access vary depending on user?

Technical Support

  • Will teachers be required to offer technical support for hardware, software, or network issues?
  • What resources will be provided to help students connect to the network?
    • Who will create the resources to help with technical support?
    • What format will be used for the resources? (print, video)
    • How will these resources be shared? (handout, posted to website)
  • Will a tech team be created to help students with their devices?
  • How will teachers offer support for apps?

Storage

  • Do devices have to be turned off and stowed away when students are not in class?
  • Where are devices to be stored? (e.g. lockable trollies, cupboards, or lockers)

Disciplinary Measures

  • What constitutes an infraction?
  • What existing school policies already cover infractions?
  • Can school personnel confiscate a device if it is not being used appropriately?
    • Under what circumstance can the device be confiscated?
    • What is the duration before the child’s device is returned?
  • Can school personnel search the contents of a device if it is not being used appropriately?
    • Under what circumstance can the device be searched?
    • Does a parent need to be present or can they offer verbal consent?
    • Can a search be conducted without parent permission?
  • Can school personnel limit, suspend, or revoke the privilege of bringing a device to school?

Professional Development

  • Are all teachers committed to supporting BYOD? How can you create a “buy-in”?
  • What training is required to support teachers in their implementation of student devices?
  • How will teachers be given time in their schedule to collaborate with fellow teachers?
  • How will teachers be supported over time?

Parents

  • Do parents support BYOD?
  • How do you want to involve parents in BYOD?
  • Do you want to offer an information session, where they can explore devices to see their educational use?
  • How will you keep parents informed about BYOD?
  • Should parents be encouraged to purchase hazard/theft insurance?

Policy

  • What will be in our BYOD policy?
  • What content should be included in the parent letter?
  • What should the BYOD agreement form look like?
  • Do all users (administrators, teachers, volunteers) need to sign the BYOD agreement or only students?
  • Does the Internet Acceptable Use policy need updating?

Technical Considerations

  • Can the current infrastructure serve additional devices? What upgrades need to be made to provide a secure, efficient service? (bandwidth, firewall, access points, server, mobile device management system)
  • Will WIFI networks be public and permit only Internet access or will it be private, permitting students to login to server?
    • If private, what upgrades are required to have an efficient authentication process?
  • Does the infrastructure have a backup system so that if the WIFI service is interrupted, education is not disrupted?
  • Is there monitoring software to allow IT to adjust the service to reduce the impact of high demand videos or other apps that hog bandwidth?
  • Are there enough outlets and power sources for students and others to charge devices?
    • Will there be charging stations?
    • What rules will be associated with using the charging stations?
  • Will students register their devices? What process will be used for registration?

Financial Considerations

  • How much will it cost to upgrade the infrastructure?
  • Will it cost money to upgrade the electrical system to accommodate charging stations?
  • Is there additional software that needs to be purchased to monitor the network?
  • Is there a cost associated with maintenance of the infrastructure?
  • How often will the infrastructure require updating?
Christa Love

About Christa Love

Christa Love, Vice President - Christa Love has a passion for education and technology. A graduate from Brock University she has an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, Bachelor of Education in Primary and Junior divisions, and Masters of Education in the area of Curriculum Studies. Her work at TechnoKids Inc. began more than ten years ago as an instructor at a local learning center. Since that time she has operated the summer camp program, taught at the research and development center at John Knox Christian School, trained educators throughout the province on issues related to technology integration, and overseen the curriculum development of hundreds of technology projects. In recent years, Christa has become the vice president of TechnoKids Inc.