Implementing BYOD

I am keen as a school that we introduce BYOD or potentially BYOT, and embrace the cultural shift in teaching and learning that this facilitates; ‘flipping’ the classroom and giving pupils ‘extended digital wings’. I am equally keen that we implement this with thought and care so that the best possible learning opportunities are facilitated and robust/appropriate security and e-safety is ensured.

Some questions to educators who already operate BYOD/BYOT, would you recommend:

1. Introducing staff BYOD then pupils at a later date so that any initial issues can be addressed before going ‘whole school’?
2. Separate networks for each user group? Also, do you include parents?
3. A phased approach with pupils, e.g. e-readers as a starting point, and then other devices after a period of time, or would you go for a full range straight away?
4. Limiting the range of devices on-going e.g. iPads plus one or two other devices, or keep it open and flexible for learners and their families? At primary age have you included mobile/smart ‘phones as a BYOD option or have you limited it to non-‘phones i.e. tablets only?
5. An introductory session for parents explaining the initiative?
6. Insisting certain specified level of security and e-safety systems are in place on the devices before they can come into school? School loading these or parents install/arrange?

Concerns:
7. Would parents feel under pressure to buy devices for their children?
8. Would pupils feel upset/left out if they do not have their own device?
9. Would there be issues with pupils seeking what they perceive is the best device and bullying link with this and/or negativity to other pupils with more basic devices?
10. What if parents felt their children are not using the devices enough to justify the cost?
11. Who loads the Apps onto the devices and ensures they are age appropriate and e-safety safe? Parents – having signed up to an acceptable user policy?
12. Would BYOD ‘sit’ comfortably alongside a VLE or do they tend to conflict? Are schools tending to move from VLE to completely cloud based?
13. Can you block the Internet and whitelist certain sites on all tablets and smart ‘phones when the pupils’ devices are out of school? Or are some devices better suited to this? (And let the school’s own filter take over during the school day).

Over all:
14. How do you know when your school is ready for BYOD and that parents will, quite literally, buy into it? Is it having the vision and passion and sowing seeds/drip feeding over a number of months that it will be coming and the benefits so all come on board increasingly? Or . . . ? Are certain trial/pilot projects recommended first?
Has anyone shared a timeline for the implementation of BYOD and what is needed at each stage?
15. Are there ‘model’ BYOD policies that one can refer to?
16. Is there a cloud based storage size that is generally accepted as advisable per pupil and per member of staff? (Our usage would be around 360 pupils and staff, although not all would be using at one time). Assume the IT Network Manager could work this out and the necessary Internet connectivity – speed and capacity . . .
17. Is your wi-fi totally cloud-based and does it allow school to monitor what happens on the network? Do you have a free open network for pupils using this? Does it have a proxy filter system or have you had to teach the children how to input for a proxy in school and a direct internet connection at home?
18. How familiar with cloud based Apps do staff need to be before launching BYOD?
19. How much training do staff need before you can introduce BYOD, or given that classrooms are increasingly being ‘flipped’ – with pupils having a much more active role in leading learning, do staff need minimal if any training for a school to make this move? (Assuming all security, data security and e-safety elements have been addressed (including an additional layer passed the firewall), and adequate wi-fi coverage, capacity and storage is in place).
20. What expectations are schools sharing with staff once BYOD is introduced? For example are all teachers required to facilitate opportunities for own devices to be used in all subjects and all lessons? Or something different.
21. What is the youngest age pupils BYOD has successfully and sustainably been implemented? 10 – 11 year olds or not recommended until older?
22. What ICT skills must pupils have before introducing BYOD?
In the primary setting, we thought the form room could be locked, or devices in a locked cupboard, if the teacher is not in the room. Devices in from home daily, charge and maintained at home etc. Or would you recommend something different?
23. Have you introduced a scheme to help parents purchase devices at reduced prices or over a period of time to spread the costs or have you left it up to them to source?

MANY THANKS for responses! Or happy to Skype to cover the questions above.

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