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Education
Contributor: ThinkFWD
Bring your own device: What is it?

What does this new trend mean for educators and students?

Bring your own device (BYOD) is an industry trend in today’s interconnected world. For decades, school technology programs were based around the idea of buying large numbers of standard devices and administering them in a consistent way.

In recent years, however, the rise of BYOD technologies has profoundly changed this model – and forced educational technologists to implement new tools for managing the way devices access school networks.  

BYOD lets users choose the devices that are right them, without being locked into an institutional choice (that's often either too little or too much computer for you).

The school or university will provide specifications so students can be sure the system is compatible. Most of today’s products run Windows with Wi-Fi and are compatible with any well-designed BYOD system.

Why BYOD?

BYOD is designed to enable students to focus on learning anywhere, anytime, with any device, whether it’s a PC, laptop, mobile phone or tablet. ICT vendors recognise this is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon and have even improved their capabilities to support BYOD environments. BYOD programs can improve student satisfaction and engagement while reducing the school's costs in licences and devices.

BYOD is really a matter of personal requirements. You need to ask yourself whether BYOD helps meets your needs.

To effectively identify whether BYOD is for you, ask yourself some key questions:

  •  What are your educational needs?
  •  What are your personal needs?
  •  What are your expectations of an ICT BYOD solution?
  •  Is BYOD supported by your educational institution?
  •  Are you able to access information relevant to assist you in selecting the right device?

Remember to provide your ICT education team with feedback to determine whether BYOD is suitable for your education environment. Your input is invaluable in helping your ICT team make BYOD a reality.

Selecting your device

The first thing is to make sure it's compatible with your school, TAFE or university system. Additionally, make sure your preferred device is compatible with any current BYOD programs.

Look for the following in your device:

  • Wireless compatibility: BYOD devices need to be compatible with standard Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), ideally the latest 5GHz 802.11ac standard.
  • Battery life: Look for battery life that will get you through the school day. We recommend a minimum of eight hours.
  • OS: A compatible operating system will be a vital part of your ability to complete the daily activities for your classroom. Windows 8 is often the standard platform in the majority of education campuses, but you may have the ability to explore other options.
  • Processor power and graphics: You may require use of demanding applications like video editing and rendering, high-end design or heavy-duty number-crunching (like rocket science). Be ready with the correct performance hardware.
  • Memory and storage: What you need depends on how you're using your devices. It’s highly recommended that you start with a minimum of 2GB memory (RAM) and 64GB of storage for basic use. For demanding use, you can expand this to 8, 12 or 32GB of RAM and as much as 1TB of storage.
  • Do not forget the ‘other’ features: A camera and microphone are essential. A touch screen and digitiser pen can help set you up for long-term use.
  • Form factor: Go tough, but not too heavy. Any device has to be able to survive student life. Hard drive; roll cages; spill-resistant keyboards; one-button data recovery will all make your ICT life a little simpler.
  • Warranty and support: Standard warranty may suffice, though upgrading provides added peace of mind, as do the options for protecting against accidental damage and on-site service. Choose the level of support you need.

Explore your options and decide for yourself which device and program work best for you and your school.

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