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The ‘BYOD’ Revolution in School Tech
Amanda Smith

24 Jan' 14 | By Amanda Smith

The ‘BYOD’ Revolution in School Tech

‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) may be a fairly new buzzword, but the practice has been going on for a few years. BYOD refers to the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices into work. With more than 70% of the population carrying a smartphone, workplaces are already harnessing this trend to promote productivity and reduce costs.

As technology has become more intelligent and the Apps we use more useful, it has become increasingly common to mix both our personal and professional lives into these devices. Companies save money, employees use the machines they want, and with the mobility that cloud computing offers nobody has to keep switching computers and devices all day long.

The driving force behind BYOD is a new IT self-sufficiency among employees who already own and use personal laptops, smartphones and tablets. These devices are often newer and more advanced than the offerings of many IT departments, so unsurprisingly 38% of companies are expected to stop providing devices to workers by 2016. Schools are predicted to follow suit, as research shows that a quarter of British children now own a tablet before their eighth birthday.

As more and more schools in the UK are beginning to implement a ‘Bring your own device’ strategy it’s only a matter of time before students are encouraged to not only bring their technology into class but to use them for learning.

Mobile learning technologies offer teachers and students a more flexible approach to education. The enhancement of lessons through the use of Apps, interactive content and video is the motivating force behind this revolution, and will make the future classroom experience more dynamic. There is also potential for teachers to be more responsive to an individual students needs while teaching. Teacher support tools could enable educators to track their student’s progress in real time, which will utilise their time and resources. Institutions should also consider classroom management apps, which allow teachers to schedule homework, create lesson plans, record feedback and email notes to their pupils.

According to the Student Mobile Device Survey, 69% of students would like to use mobile devices more often in class. By enabling pupils to securely and easily access school data on their own devices, productivity levels will naturally increase. A study found that 60% of staff thought that students were more motivated by lessons that incorporated an iPad, and a further 67% thought that a smart tablet improved the quality of the student’s work.

Ultimately mobile learning means more tools, more resources and more opportunities for children in the 21st century. If pupils already own devices that can add to their learning, then why shouldn’t they use them for more than just Facebook? BYOD is an inevitable, natural progression that has created a significant opportunity for companies to capitalise on this mobile growth.

Spending on mobile projects is expected to grow 100% by 2015, and the mobile App market will reach $55 billion by 2016. The ‘Bring your own device’ market is estimated to grow to $181 billion by 2017, and with traditional print literature such as books, textbooks and exams all going digital, the race is on to create solutions that deliver a rich learning experience for both students and educators.

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