5 Practical tips for BYOD equity
Smart devices can help teachers transform the whole learning experience. Schools don't have to invest a lot in buying smartphones and tablets; instead, they can develop a BYOD framework that allows students to use their own gadgets in class.
One very important thing to consider is how to ensure BYOD equity between students. There is no perfect recipe for this, but here are five practical tips for limiting the technological differences in a BYOD classroom:
Know your students
The data and statistics about students that is gathered throughout the year can indicate things such as the preferred learning style of each student, their competence level and skills in different fields of study.
Then you should know about what devices they can bring to school, how performant these are or under which operating system they work, and also if there are students who need financial assistance to get a device.
A prerequisite for a successful BYOD program is connectivity. So program managers have to make sure the school has a good internet connection and the wireless system can handle the heavy usage.
Teachers also have to decide what kind of apps and software will be used in class activities and to make sure whatever they choose will run on each device regardless of their make and operating system.
Supplement school technology
Technical problems with simple solutions, like not having enough power sockets in the classroom, a backup computer or laptop, or even an external hard disk, can be a real headache if they are overlooked.
So schools implementing a BYOD program should consider keeping a number of extra devices and corresponding accessories in their inventory, so that students and teachers can borrow if they forget to bring their own.
Use cooperative learning
Smart devices can make classroom activities more dynamic. Interactive technologies like AR and VR, which make learning more fun and increase student engagement, can only be accessed through such devices.
To further enhance cooperation in group activities, teachers can organize students to work with just one device per group. This makes it harder for them to use the device for other purposes than learning.
Don't forget about parents when implementing a BYOD program. They are the ones who buy the devices for their children, after all. Their opinion about the efficiency of such a program can influence its success.
Any concerns parents may have about how BYOD works and why it's important — all the costs involved, the increased screen time for their kids, and so on — should be addressed head-on, as soon as possible.
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