We are now entering a second phase of BYOD (bring your own device) for education. You might have missed it because it happened so quickly. In this new phase, the emphasis has shifted from BYOD adoption to building better BYOD strategies. The average BYOD policy for schools is now far beyond “Put away your cell phones!”
The State of K-12 BYOD
Here is a quick review of how BYOD has already transformed K-12 education:
- In 2014, BYOD programs expanded to reach the majority (56 percent) of U.S. school districts, with lower adoption at the prekindergarten through third grade levels and much higher (84 percent) at the high school level (Digital School District Survey, Center for Digital Education and the National School Board Association)
- Seventy-eight percent of IT professionals in education said that students and teachers were using their personal devices in school, regardless of the policy. Eighty-four percent of school districts that didn’t allow BYOD had received frequent requests from faculty and students to change that policy (Bradford Networks)
- The market for K-12 apps and online education hit $8.4 billion in 2014. Testing, BYOD and personalized learning were the leading drivers of this growth (2014 U.S. Education Technology Industry Market: PreK-12 Report, The Education Technology Industry Network)
This new phase is about establishing strategies for better managing what educators do with BYOD. In the old model, teachers would upload an assignment or supporting documents to a central server for students to download. That’s not how things work anymore.
We live in a collaborative, mobile society where peer-to-peer communications and collaborations dominate our daily tasks. Enterprise file synchronization and sharing (EFSS) has migrated from work to schools. EFSS refers to the way individuals can directly share documents, photos, schedules and other files between their devices, which normally depends on cloud-based communications.
Mobile users can now synchronize versions and collaborate more efficiently on team projects. Gartner recently predicted that EFSS will see rapid growth over the next three years and expand the capabilities for related technologies, such as mobile content management (MCM).
MCM governs how files are stored and shared securely within a network. The security aspect is critical for parents who want to arrange ride-sharing, check on their children’s schedules and exchange information with teachers. Schools with progressive BYOD strategies and policies are already beginning to facilitate innovative ideas like geolocation-assisted pickups, location tracking during field trips and messages about students from administrators to parents.
At the university level, BYOD is required by many institutions. As children progress toward that goal through the lower grades, BYOD can mean much more than just a new way of collaborating on homework assignments. New engineering innovations based on BYOD are already reshaping parent-teacher-student-administrator communications. These advances are helping parents and students stay engaged with events at school throughout the year in a more effective, more intuitive way using the devices that they already prefer.
At labs108, we are expanding what BYOD can do with designs like Skool Commute, a K-12 mobile Platform that is personalized for each school. As children learn how to make better use of today’s BYOD, MDM, MAM, MCM and specifically EFSS technology in education, they become much better prepared to handle whatever technological advances are coming next.