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Study Examines Benefits and Constraints of BYOD Policies

A new study examines the affordances, or benefits, and constraints of instituting bring your own device (BYOD) policies in schools.

The study, published in the January 2017 edition of the journal “The Internet and Higher Education,” looked at 17 teachers and their approaches to implementing BYOD policies in their classrooms. Students in these classes were allowed to bring laptops, cell phones, tablets and other devices to supplement their learning. Over the course of two years, researchers collected data through class videos, teacher interviews, field notes and other website resources.

The results indicated that teachers and researchers were able to identify several BYOD benefits. For instance, there was an increase in resource access allowing students to download instructional materials to assist with their learning.

However, the teachers and researchers also recognized a number of constraints, including the smaller screen sizes of mobile phones, making it more difficult to type. The majority of the limitations revolved around issues like plugs for chargers and WiFi availability. These environmental limitations appeared to be a pervasive issue across the different classrooms.

Despite the constraints, most people surveyed agreed that today’s instructors should encourage devices to become part of the classroom, as the perceived benefits and resources exceed the textbooks currently used. At the same time, full implementation might require an entire overhaul of the classroom environment as we know it.

The authors of the study are Yanjie Song and Siu Cheung Kong from the Department of Mathematics and Information Technology at the Education University of Hong Kong. The complete report is available for a fee on this site. Those affiliated with libraries or educational institutions may already have access through their organizations.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].

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