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Blue Skies Thread, BYOD - Thoughts? in General; Was just wondering what everyone's thoughts were on BYOD in schools? Challenges? Benefits? Any downsides? Has anyone launched a BYOD ...
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    Stone_Charli's Avatar
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    BYOD - Thoughts?

    Was just wondering what everyone's thoughts were on BYOD in schools?

    Challenges? Benefits? Any downsides? Has anyone launched a BYOD scheme in their school and can share their experiences?

    Thinking of doing a piece for our quarterly Update and wanted to get some thoughts

    Thanks guys!

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    Not a school, but a Sixth Form.

    Have been running BYOD since 2009.... ask Darren Dodd a fellow stone employee

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    We allow staff and 6th form students to attach devices to a vlan which routes all traffic out through smoothwall. Any internal services they use via the external access methods. Staff and students have to register the MAC of their device.

    I'm sure the individuals see 'benefits' but it's difficult to see them overall as a school. If staff plan IT into lessons, they don't count on BYOD.

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    The biggest problem is defining what "BYOD" means. Just reading a few posts around edugeek and a few other educational discussions, I've seen people attempting to support any and each end user's devices, others only supporting a limited subset of devices, some supporting a "list of devices" with one entry (e.g. 'we only support iPads') and some places where the devices are purchased by the school (or by the parents but via the school) and then locked down by the school and handed back to students.

    All those people described their scheme as "BYOD". Which one of them is right?

    We've just invested a fair amount of money in adding a decent amount of Aruba access points and a ClearPass server to our network in order to improve our support of wireless devices, both college-owned, "BYOD", and visitors. Other than that we're pursuing a policy of making as much data as possible available to users via HTTP/HTTPS so that just they can access both their work and the data we share with students (e.g. attendance, electronic payment card balances, library loans, etc) on just about any half-reasonable, half recent device (we tested connecting to the wireless network and looking at both our VLE and our student data on our director's iPhone 3GS today).

    Are we supporting "BYOD" with this? I think so but others may disagree.

    One thing I have seen some institutions miss is that if you want to invest in supporting mobile devices, it requires a rethink of a lot of layers of your provision. The impact of a BYOD project on infrastructure, server configuration, end-user technical support requirements and classroom management/lesson delivery all need to be considered to make this kind of thing work effectively, and we all know that quite a lot of places forget the back-end stuff because they get sold something shiny by a person in a nice suit.

    No point in giving all staff and students new tablets for free if the school day is 7 hours long and the tablet battery life is only 4 hours; or if the wireless access points only support 20 connections in a room before they start to struggle, and you have 30 students in a class.

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    Stone_Charli (14th August 2014)



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