If you have school-age children, there is a good chance that you have had or heard discussions about the BYOD initiative for schools. This concept encourages the student to bring his or her own technological gadget to school in order to aid in the educational process. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative is gaining momentum and is already being instituted in many schools across the country. Consequently, a debate has been sparked over the positive and negative aspects such a program brings to the table.
A Brave New World
There is no question about the importance of technology in our society today. If our children want to be relevant when they enter the workforce, they will have to be comfortable interacting with technological devices. The more exposure we can give our kids to technology in the classroom, the more likely it is that they will gain the ability to master it and employ it successfully. However, with school budgets routinely being cut, students cannot count on having access to up-to-date equipment at school. Consequently, the option of bringing one’s own device to class will immediately increase the resources available for learning. It is not unusual to see our kids with a smartphone, iPad, or some other device in their hands. The opportunity to bring these resources to school will allow our kids to use them to advance and enrich their educational experience.
The Flip Side
No new endeavor is without its problems, and there are several reasons for parents and educators to be cautious about implementing BYOD The most obvious and unsettling question is: “How will the school system effectively monitor what sites my child is visiting while in class?” While there have been many advancements in internet filtering software, smart and resourceful kids can often find ways to maneuver around these virtual road blocks. The school must also consider the students who do not have the resources to provide their own devices. One of the inadvertent side-effects of this initiative is the distinction it will bring to those who “have” and those who “have-not”. Furthermore, on a perhaps less serious but still costly note is the potential for young students to lose or have their device stolen. At what age should our students be trusted for sole responsibility of this expensive equipment?
The BYOD initiative comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Compelling arguments can be made both for implementing and protesting this program. Whether or not to allow kids to bring their own technology to school is a debate that will not be solved overnight. As parents and advocates for our children, we would do well to educate ourselves on this subject, ask questions of our school system, and talk to our children about important topics such as internet safety.
Has your school implemented B.Y.O.D? Share your experiences and/or opinions on this hot debate!