Allowing Student's Personal Devices (BYOD) - for/against
The inevitable has happened, and an SM has said that a student was using an iPad in a lesson and mentioned that it was very limiting without an internet connection. Said SM then came to ask if it could be added to the network and lo and behold, the worms were crawling out of the can and getting all over the office and everything.
I suspect this is an unstoppable trend anyway, and something that we will end up supporting at some point in the next three years, although I'd rather wait at least one more year simply because we're so busy this year with setting up 2k8R2 and testing Win7 and I don't have time to get into VLANning and what have you. I said I'd draw up a list of benefits and disadvantages for SMT to discuss at tonight's meeting, though, and this is what I've got so far. Can anyone add anything else? (in either column - I'm not deliberately trying to make it look bad, it's just genuinely come out this unbalanced!)
As I say, I will do this eventually anyway (if only ever for KS5), but it's interesting how many downsides there seem to be against the possible upsides so far!
Background: at present, students are not allowed personal devices in school for accessing the internet. However there is an increasing trend towards possession of portable computing devices such as iPads, laptops etc. and many students now include such devices as part of their normal workflow, particularly in specialist subjects such as art or music that might have specific tools available on these platforms. These devices, if brought in, are currently limited by not being connected to the internet.
Proposal: such devices could, after suitable preparations, be allowed access to the internet. The connection available would be filtered in line with current KS5 levels, and the option would only be available to sixth formers.
Greater availability of IT at low cost to us
Greater flexibility for students who want to use personal resources
May better engage students
Would require the instigation of a technical project that would certainly involve a significant investment of time, and potentially budget.
Work would be saved in a single location rather than on the network; therefore if students forget their device their work will be completely unavailable and there will be no regular backup of their work. Despite warnings of these limitations students are likely to favour working on personal devices still.
Danger of loss of expensive personal equipment (particularly on public transport to and from school)
Possibly lead to poorer students feeling excluded
May offer a greater distraction to students, as personal devices are likely to have personal data (e.g. photos) and possibly games available.
Should personal devices be allowed, IT Support will be unable to support them to prevent abuse of our services and prevent strain on our time supporting a large number of myriad devices.
If popular, would likely require investment in improving our wireless coverage, ideally with a managed (intelligent) system (5 figure cost).
Security risk from viruses steps can be taken to mitigate this but there will always be a risk from zero-day exploits that havent been seen before