To BYOD or Not to BYOD: the Rise of Devices in Schools

Henry Bevan, April 4, 2019

There are many voices for and against the rising use of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in schools. ITEC is tired of the confusion and has broken down the debate into a digestible blog post…

30% of UK secondary schools have asked students to bring their own device into school. This is a sign of change. Most of the people reading this post will remember the days when mobile phones were taken off students -- they had to remain hidden instead of being actively used.

Yet, this change in attitude brings its own unique challenges to schools. Can students be trusted to do their work instead of swapping messages on whatsapp? Is your network designed and prepared for the strain BYOD puts on your network? Will your IT security still protect you when there are more opportunities for hackers to attack you? Every BYOD device is an entry point for hackers. 1000 students using their phones to access your network creates 1000 more vulnerable points.

For your school to successfully implement BYOD, it needs to do more than just connect a tablet to your network. But don’t worry, devices unlock learning potential and can turn lessons into places every pupil wants to be.

Children at school classroom

Pros of BYOD

Make Homework Hassle-Free

Everyone remembers how annoying homework is. You’d finish school only to start working again after watching TV, eating dinner and squabbling with your siblings. This process is annoying when you forget your textbook, and your teachers become frustrated when someone whips out a “My Hamster Ate My Homework” excuse. Starting a BYOD environment in your school eases the flow of information between a student’s class and their home. If students have the right tools on their personal device, they can pick up where they left off, access course materials remotely and submit assignments online. The lives of your teachers and pupils in easier than ever.

Improves Pupil Motivation

Today’s school students are the first generation to skillfully hold a conversation while scrolling through their phone. They constantly connected and have grown up surrounded by phones, tablets and super-portable laptops. Dial up isn’t a frustrating memory, but is something they can’t comprehend. By inviting students to learn with the devices they already know and love, your school leverages BYOD to motivate pupils into wanting to learn. They’re already connected to their device, and their familiarity with the software and hardware means they learn without added hassle. More inviting than a whiteboard, handheld devices focus students on education.    

Increases Interaction with Digital Resources

BYOD places powerful tools and software into the hands of your students. With programmes like Discovery Education, teachers across multiple subjects and exam boards can inspire curiosity with 8,000 easy-to-use resources. Devices allow your staff the chance to plan multi-media lessons with videos that can be played, edited, downloaded & shared, and ready made quizzes.

Young man studying on his digital tablet computer in a library

Cons of BYOD

Infrastructure Strain

Before you embrace BYOD, you have to ask yourself: does my school’s network infrastructure have suitable bandwidth to support hundreds of new devices? If the answer is no, BYOD will strain your infrastructure to breaking point. With a daily influx of devices trying to simultaneously connect to your network, the school’s WiFi will be drained and devices will run frustratingly slow. Any interactive game or internet dependent programme won’t just struggle to engage pupils, it will struggle to work. When dealing with a BYOD onslaught, an undedicated router system won’t be able to handle the amount of traffic, especially when only one pupil can take up your entire 100mbps bandwidth.    

Learn more about how ITEC’s bespoke Managed Mobility Service prepares your school’s network for BYOD.

Technical Support

BYOD multiplies the number of devices your IT must look after. You simply might not be able to support them, leading to more problems and faults. However skilled your inhouse IT team is, they might not be able to handle it.

ITEC give you round the clock support with the ITEC Help Desk being available for 12 hours every day and your local ITEC Engineers available 24/7 -- with us, you get the support you need for BYOD.

Increased Chance of a Malware Attack

The thing about BYOD is you can never be entirely sure where the connecting devices are coming from. This means there is potentially thousands of unknown devices that can be weaponised by hackers and used to attack your network. Hackers view schools as an easy target and the consequences of your school suffering a malware attack can be devastating considering the amount of sensitive and valuable information on your servers.  

It’s important you have great IT security with some of the finest firewalls and a proactive response to phishing and malware attacks. A BYOD practice increases the chances of your school suffering a cyber-attack because of the sheer number of devices connecting to your network.    

How HP for Education Helps

If your school wants to install a cost-effective BYOD ecosystem that is equipped with the best IT security, HP for Education gives your school the devices at a discounted price. ITEC manages the installation, meaning you get the best support and the best devices equipped with the best security protocols. Get in touch now.

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