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

Christa Love, Curriculum Developer & Teacher ~ I am passionate about blending technology into curriculum. Whether it is programming, video production, graphic design, or digital citizenship, I am interested in how apps and tools can be used to enhance learning. Throughout the years I have designed many TechnoKids technology projects. My favorite part of curriculum development is field-testing the ideas to determine the activities that work best in real classrooms. I write about what I have learned that can save teachers time in their own curriculum planning.

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