BYO – next wave in the eRevolution

  • byodHow are schools to keep up in this fast-changing world? One answer is BYOT.  Bring Your Own Technology. The concept is simple: if a student already has a  preferred technology at home, bring it to school rather than duplicate the cost  and time spent learning to navigate a new device issued or mandated by the  school.
  • Manor Lakes is one of many school’s operating on a similar model known as BYOD —  Bring Your Own Device — that limits the technology to a specific product. The  next step is obvious — students will be given the freedom to bring to the  classroom technology already available at home.
  • The BYOT model is fairly new, with only a handful of schools around the country  using it. Backers say schools that have adopted BYOT are experiencing better  results from a more personalised education, and enhanced engagement between the  home and school. But words such as equity and access keep cropping up.
  • Mr Barclay says it makes sense, both financially and academically, for students  to bring their own devices to his school — especially as it grows.
  • Mal Lee, a former principal and director of schools in the Australian Capital  Territory, is an internationally recognised expert in the field of BYOT.
  • He says the burgeoning power of technology already available in the home is  overlooked by schools, and technology issued during the federal government’s  $1.2 billion Digital Education Revolution (DER) rollout will become redundant if  there is something more powerful and preferred at home.
  • In 2009, Mr Lee conducted research that found in an average year 6 class of 30  children the amount of technology in the homes was at least 15 times greater  than what was in the classroom.
  • Mr Lee adds that the move will be harder where there is resistance by  information and communications technology staff and principals, who prefer a  control model rather than a facilitating one.
  • Results of a large-scale survey released last month by Project Tomorrow, an  education think tank in the US, found that 65 per cent of school principals said  it was unlikely they would allow students to use their own mobile devices for  instructional purposes. In contrast, almost two-thirds of parents said that if  their child’s school allowed the use of mobile devices for instructional  purposes, it was likely they would purchase such a device for their child to  use. Parents from low-income schools were just as likely to report that they  would purchase a mobile device for academic purposes as other parents.
  • Mr Lee says BYOT reflects a significant change in moving from a model of  distrust to trust.
  • It’s better than spending time chasing after students all day, trying to catch  them out with technology and reprimanding them.”
    What advice would Mr Lee give to schools as they think about policies and  technologies? “Have a close look at your community, communicate and recognise what you’ve  got already . . . Educators have talked about trying to tailor education to  individuals for decades. BYOT brings that on.”

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