Beginning the BYOD Journey

I am in a predicament as I have only a 1:3 ratio of devices in my class an would love to increase this ratio to 1:2 at the least and the idea of 1:1 is very exciting. There are also parents knocking on my door and saying “Timmy has an …… and we were wondering if he could bring it to class to use?”. That is not the predicament, as the possibilities of what we could create and accomplish are endless, but the predicament is there is no policy around BYOD and we have not really begun the journey towards even creating one.

Tomorrow morning I could announce to all “Here Ye, Here Ye, Bring me your devices!” then within a few minutes each one would be attached to our WiFi and ready to go. I even have a list of what apps/programmes that I wish each student should have, reasonings of how each would enhance our classroom programme and their child’s education, plus all are free. Just like that the ratio would be more in line with that desired 1:1 dream. Those who have devices would free up the classroom devices for those who do not and we would all live happily ever after.

The conundrum or pickle or boggle that I am facing is one that I do not have an answer, but have a list of problems with allowing access.

How do I keep the school, students and families safe?

Simple Problems

-Transporting to and from school – who is responsible for the device if it gets broken?
-Tech Support at school is myself and the wonderful office lady and we have no additional time to organise and assist students with connection issues.
-We are not device specific as classes have Desktops, Netbooks and iPads. Problem arrises that we know how to connect PC, but Apple is new to us and we have a lot of learning to do around the Techie skills of the MAC.
Bigger Problems
-Our server is School Zone, which requires a hole to be made in the firewall for many apps to work (Many Apps do not require Proxy, so if we do not put the hole in the Firewall then most Apple Apps will not work), but by allowing a whole we also loose some of the filtering capability that School Zone offers us.
-We have 60GB of data month, so other than turning off the WiFi out of school hours, what stops parents from taking the Proxy given to their student, adding it to their device and then surfing the school internet over the weekend? Checking emails is not a biggie, but illegal downloading or worse could be problematic and effect the legality of the schools internet connection.

Solutions
As I have said, I do not yet have a solution, but by writing down all the problems that are staring me in the face I have taken the first step towards finding a solution. Now is time to talk to my colleagues who are also thinking the same issues (but hopefully not more issues). Look at other local schools who are trying the BYOD approach and see how they have dealt with the issues or if they have even seen them as issues. Ask you and my PLN for your ideas and thoughts.
Last of all I need to get the ball rolling, as it might just be a small issue that affects a few kids this year or next, but it will be a larger issue as the years progress. The day will come when BYOD is not a term we use as devices will be as common place as a students pencil case.

Extra Lead

In the 45 minutes that I have spent writing this post I have also been having other conversations with friends on Twitter about this issue and it has just cemented in my mind the power of a twitter PLN.

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@mosborne01 of CORE Education has sent me on a hunt to see if I can create a VLAN network at school.
@WellsChristine of Orewa College has sent me her student BYOD Contract to study.
@BridgetLCM sent through a link to a Pre-BYOD Checklist.
@JudyKMCK sent through a links to two separate readings around BYOD implementation.

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One thought on “Beginning the BYOD Journey

  1. Andy

    To beat this problem, change to Watchdog for your schools filtering, this removes the sign in process. To stop students accessing the separate BYOD wireless network we use 7 day timers which switches off the BOYD network outside of school hours. There are some routers which can do the job, our solution only cost a few hundred dollars not thousands.

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