Spot on guys, not sure where the Thank Post button has gone but it would be getting good use in this thread
What happens when BYOD becomes the norm and a classroom lesson is based on students using their devices. What happens when young Timmys device doesnt work or requires charging? Do techies get involved in maintaining these devices? What happens when parents blame the school for devices going wrong ? "it was fine when Timmy was using it at home. Something happened in school to it so its your fault! Buy me a replacement!!"
Cynical I know but these thoughts occur to me.
I can see benefits in 6th formers using their own devices but can also see the problems.
But it doesn't take much of a leap of the imagination to think we'll get to that stage, particularly if it's something that's going to be more expected of people as they go forward into college and higher ed. to bring their own devices and what with smaller smartphone type devices being ubiquitous anyway.
The argument of "It was fine before it was on your network / in your school" argument is a faulty premise but one that has some legs so why don't we start with that one.
When you are setting up your facilities for BYOD you have to accept some ground rules, the same way any software developer does, the same way that RBCs do, the same way that the council planning teams do for roads (it will become obvious in a minute). A software developer will know the they cannot test every conceivable configuration and specification of machine to work with their software ... and so they set out a base specification and work on a reasonable to best endeavours basis around that. RBCs generally have standard network builds where they know that if people follow the guides it limits the difficulties trying to deal with if something is not quite working ... and yes, the roads are built to a standard to deal with most road traffic, but special planning is needed to take into consideration extra haulage traffic, farm vehicles, military vehicles ... and so they plan the best they can and have rules (ok ... laws) to restrict stuff (e.g. no tracked vehicles on certain roads) to help manage that.
In your school you set out reasonable expectations of what can connect and then make a reasonable attempt at checking against specific generic devices. The will not be popular with some as it could be stating that you have to have Android 2.3 as a minimum, or iOS 5, or restrict it to 802.11N connections ... but you have to set manageable targets.
At the point when someone says your system broke their machine you can have a rule that says "Yes, we will investigate and if we are found culpable we will discuss the problem but if it is found we are not culpable then we will charge you for our time". Again, not popular, but helps to stop malicious claims.
Things like this is where BYOD needs some legal advice (which has disappeared with the absence of BECTA) especially when you start considering your responsibilities about how you manage the above, as well as how you retain logs of activities should they be needed for police investigations, how you deal with reports of illegal materials on personal devices (whether breach of copyright or illegal images) and changes to your Business Continuity plans should parts of your BYOD infrastructure fail.
Whilst this might come across as FUD to some ... it isn't ... it is merely a reasonable set of areas which need to be examined and covered off prior to the project going mainstream ... the same way the school would deal with H&S issues when a pupil / student with a visual impairment starts at the school, if there is a swimming pool built, etc.
That of course depends on whether or not you see BYOD supplementing your current deployment, or replacing part of it. We see it as likely to be supplemental, for a while at least.
We are currently looking to BYOD and I have found its a massive task. We are considering buying a device for all students. It creates questions on ownership of the device should the school fully provide finance or should it be a part buy.But I also find it very hard to decide which platform is best suited for the need. How much control can I as an IT manager give back to the students and staff. Are these devices truly ready to be used for one to one devices. All of the high end MDM systems which are currently available cost an a fortune if you truly want the control such as application control etc.
My head has been spinning.. I would be very interested to hear how other schools are truly using BYOD.
I am writing an article on BYOD and would be interested in any experiences, especially in the UK - tim at itwriting.com if you can help.
It is not all iDevices - my son has his own Windows netbook which he uses at school, it is literally a BYOD because we paid for it!
we support byod to an extent, we encourage teachers to use their own devices, facilitating where budget allows with things like mac-vga convertors etc, we allow sixth formers wireless access, map them printers and drives/access to hap - this is particularly prevalent within media/ICT where the students are taking work home and lots of it. It makes more sense to keep the files on one device and facilitate them using it in school. From a slightly selfish (from the point of view of the college) it saves us gigs and gigs of sapce!
Blended aproach = yes yes yes.
Knee jerk 1000 BYOD devices with only Cloud storage and get rid of all your workstations and servers? Your gonna end up in trouble at some stage.
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