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Running head: BYOD


Bring Your Own Device Joseph C. Greene Liberty University

BYOD Bring Your Own Device Background Bring your own device (BYOD) is an issue that has affected both the worlds of business and education in the last couple of years. While little exists in the way of published scholarly research, several school districts have made attempts at moving to BYOD and shared what they’ve learned along with suggestions for others who are attempting to implement their own strategy. One can glean several good ideas related to implementing a BYOD system from combining the insights of these introductory reports. Inevitability With the proliferation of mobile devices at all levels of society, and the economic realities that are squeezing budgets, any attempt at getting to a one-to-one student to computing device ratio is likely going to require a BYOD approach (Norris & Soloway, 2011a; Ullman, 2011). With the changing reality of mobile device use for those of all ages, and the growing expectation of parents that their child be allowed to use what they already know and have, the belief of some at ISTE that BYOD will be the standard by 2015 seems the most plausible future (Norris & Soloway, 2011a; Norris & Soloway, 2011b). By adopting a BYOD approach, your school district can focus financial resources on students who need the help to acquire a mobile device instead of spinning your wheels trying to find funding for new devices for all students on a regular basis (Ullman, 2011). Classroom Implementation Environment


Before one approaches the implementation of a BYOD program, an understanding of the potential changes to the learning environment must be considered. In a report on the need to manage apps in a BYOD business setting, Forrester Research analyst Christian Kane is quoted as

BYOD saying, “In general, there’s a concept right now that you should start managing the user rather than managing the device” (Reed, 2012). It doesn’t take much to extend the concept into the classroom setting and saying that schools should manage the environment rather than managing the device.


Technology has a certain feel to it compared to the typical classroom environment. Steve Jobs once referred to the iPad as a “lean back” technology (Harris, 2012). Adding a BYOD setup is not going to merely be an additive but changes the ecology of the classroom (Harris, 2012). Mobile access to information will likely make standard assignments obsolete (Harris, 2012). Part of the planning process for BYOD will have to involve professional development opportunities for teaching staff to learn how to maximize the effectiveness of the devices that will be in their classrooms. Legal Issues It seems wise to focus energy on adapting to the change in societal norms than to fight against it by banning cell phones and other practices of the recent past and present. One issue that will have to be addressed is the current state of school board policies, and individual school policies, related to student devices (Harris, 2012). This is an issue that must be addressed before taking further steps in implementing BYOD. In addition, liability for devices has to be considered. Who will handle financial liability for student devices (Harris, 2012)? Who will handle liability for devices that the school supplies for students? Will students be allowed to take devices supplied by the school home, and how will those liability issues be covered? 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi


4 How does one best transfer information to students on their devices if they’re going to be

allowed to use them at school? Can you consider an approach that requires a data plan, instead of a simple Wi-Fi connection, to be acceptable with students of different means (Norris & Soloway, 2011b)? Would having your school district take the time, and invest the money, to turn each school into a secure Wi-Fi hotspot be the better option (Ullman, 2011)? With the ability, as shown through several school districts already, to work with service providers to develop public Wi-Fi on campus with content filtering and security measures, it appears that the necessary tools are in place for all schools to begin moving to a BYOD standard (Ullman, 2011). Professional Development None of this will see its potential realized if classroom and technology resource teachers are not provided with professional development opportunities to learn how to integrate a myriad of disparate devices into lesson planning and everyday school use. A few school districts have paved the way by preparing their staffs to work in the new BYOD environment before implementing it (Ullman, 2011). One CIO of a local school district describes the possibilities of not adequately preparing the staff succinctly, “If you haven’t prepared your teachers for what to do [when you start a BYOD program], you won’t get your bang for the buck” (Ullman, 2011). Apps or Web 2.0 Heterogeneity, the reality of non-compatible platforms across devices, is an issue to be considered when choosing what content sources to emphasize for instruction (Norris & Soloway, 2011a). With as many as seven platforms already popular on mobile devices, and the potential in the technology world for new ones to develop and gain popularity at any moment, strong consideration has to be given to alternatives to the current phone and tablet education apps (Norris & Soloway, 2011a). The primary counter option at the moment is Web 2.0 technology

BYOD which is not platform specific (Ullman, 2011). A secondary option to pay attention to is the


potential for education apps to be developed that can cross platforms (Norris & Soloway, 2011a). Additionally, Web 2.0 technology is considered much safer as malware is becoming a serious security threat in app downloading (R.J. Sansone, personal communication, February, 21, 2012). It is suggested that a minimum standard for device capability be adopted so that other standards can be developed from that (Ullman, 2011). Information Technology All information in the following section, unless otherwise noted, was derived from an interview with the Supervisor of Network Services and Architecture for Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS), Robert J. Sansone. General A few basic issues are necessary to identify before moving to a more detailed discussion of certain specific issues. Web 2.0 materials are preferable to apps from an IT perspective as the internet connectivity is much more consistent and is not based on particular users, making a usage spike much less likely. It is recommended that a switch based system is used, instead of a hub system, allowing for greater site specific control over bandwidth. Potential bandwidth usage can only be guessed at thus pilot tests are needed to create estimates for larger scale usage. WiFi is significantly less expensive to run than a 3G/4G system and setting up a private network will allow for bandwidth to not be maxed out easily. Filtering The Federal standards for filtering need to be observed to obtain E-rate reimbursements. E-Rate money arrives 8-12 months after submissions are made so it can only be counted on future budgets. A system, such as Blue Coat, allows for both filtering and caching. With that

BYOD system the top 100 websites from the previous days’ usage are automatically cached in preparation for the next day and a blacklist of websites is provided with an override function if something is deemed to not be deserving of that status. An appeal process for parents, students and teachers could be implemented if they wish for a site, or app, to be approved for use in their school. Security Wireless LANs are much more difficult to keep secure. The ability to develop a system where all devices can be identified, and assigned the appropriate level of access, is essential to keeping information in the appropriate hands (Ullman, 2011). Teachers and ITRTs need to be given professional development opportunities related to device security as well. Remote Access/Virtual Desktops Remote access must be handled carefully so as to keep from doubling bandwidth usage by accessing the school system on both intake and outtake. Virtual desktops can be adopted by putting desktops in a data center and virtualizing from there. A virtual desktop system would


allow for remote transmission to a secure device and thus cut down on potential virus effects. By going with a virtual desktop approach, older machines can continue to be used as long as they are able to handle the graphics. Current PWCS PWCS is already equipped with a private network and a Wi-Fi system. Bandwidth is assigned to each individual school through the use of a fiber optic snowman cone. Each school has a 1 GB core of Wi-Fi bandwidth assigned to it and the current high volume is only 200mb. The current system allows for separate handling of wired and wireless access. A series of pilots, with increasing numbers of users, should allow for acceptable evaluation of needs in time to fully

BYOD implement a BYOD program in the very near future (R.J. Sansone, personal communication, February, 21, 2012). Practical Helps A few items are suggested to enable a more efficient and successful transition to BYOD in the classroom particularly and in the schools generally. Three specific items are: 1) print and computer file versions of a checklist for classroom and resource teachers to reference when troubleshooting device security, 2) print and computer file versions of a checklist for classroom and resource teachers to reference when troubleshooting connectivity issues, and 3) print and online appeal forms for staff, students and parents who wish to have an app or website made available for use at the school. Implementation The following plan of action will help identify key areas that must be addressed when


implementing a BYOD system and indicate preferred options when appropriate. The initial step for any school district to address is the identification of current device usage policies with the appropriate changes made before implementing any pilot programs. At this stage both the school and district levels must be addressed and dialogue initiated with those who may oppose the changes or merely need convincing of the timing and necessity of a BYOD program. Identifying the policy issues should allow for a projectable timeline to be established. As policy barriers are being removed, the IT infrastructure of the district and the individual schools should be identified. Decisions about Wi-Fi versus 3G/4G need to be made. Quality software and hardware for filtering must be identified and procured if it is not already in place. Security issues can be discussed with specific policies developed for dealing with registration device MAC addresses, which can be done by following the steps at

BYOD, to help ensure control over access levels. During the IT discussions, the possibility of moving to virtual desktops should be discussed. You may determine what platform, Web 2.0 or apps, which you wish to make the standard at this point. Web 2.0 does have several advantages due to the incompatibility that exists between device app platforms. Web 2.0 translates to devices much more consistently and can easily be used with virtual desktops. Additionally, the cases of malware are rising rapidly among apps with more than 500 malware cases for Android in 2011. Along with IT infrastructure and platform, expectations surrounding the devices themselves need to be properly identified. What are the minimum standards for capability that will be acceptable? If you choose to go with Web 2.0 over and app based approach, you may wish to set the floor at the Kindle Fire or Nook tablet. Once this minimum is set, you then must identify how to handle the differing financial realities for various students and determine how to create an equitable system within BYOD. Additionally, financial liability issues for the devices must be determined. A final issue, before heading into the pilot program phase, is that of the impact on the classroom environment that will occur. BYOD is not a case of merely adding a new toy to the traditional classroom. The entire ecology will change as devices become accepted and then expected. The traditional approach to assignments will not survive in a BYOD setting and, as


such, classroom and resource teachers must be on the receiving end of professional development as soon as time and budget will allow. The professional development opportunities should cover several areas. Classroom management will be different with student owned devices travelling from room to room. The possibilities that Web 2.0 technology brings to curriculum planning needs to be explored.

BYOD Device security and connectivity issues should be trained for and supplemented with reference materials. Virtual desktop usage will require training if it is chosen as part of the BYOD structure. Once these items are discussed, and decisions are made, an initial timeline can be constructed that anticipates the full implementation of BYOD. The accompanying PowerPoint presentation contains a Plan of Action for the specific district that this research was conducted


for. Other districts should be able to adapt it to their own timeline once they have identified their current readiness for BYOD. The crucial first step is ensuring that policies are changed to allow for an effective implementation of BYOD.

BYOD 10 References Harris, C. (2012). Going mobile: Key issues to consider for schools weighing BYOD. School Library Journal, 58(1), 14. Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2011). From banning to BYOD: This inevitable shift is at the heart of school change. District Administration, 47(5), 94. Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2011). Tips for BYOD K12 programs: Critical issues in moving to “bring your own device.” District Administration, 47(7), 77. Reed, B. (2012). Wave of influence: BYODs and their mobile apps need to be managed. Network World, 29(1), 20-26. Ullman, E. (2011). BYOD and security: How do you protect students from themselves? Technology & Learning, 31(8), 32-36.