Excerpt from our BYOD in education eBook written by Ollie Bray. 

However you decide to implement BYOD in your school you will have a number of policy considerations to take into account. Some of these considerations are detailed below:

Ownership and Insurance

You will need to make some decisions on the ownership of your student devices. In pure BYOD deployments, the devices are student/family owned, but in reality things are not always this simple. It is important that if you purchase the devices as a school you have procedures in place to transfer the ownership to the student/family. You should also consider insurance for the device, both in school and out of school.

Before introducing BYOD into education, many institutes run parent briefing evenings to make sure that everyone understands their role within any deployment. These evenings can also be useful to facilitate the signing of devices over to students/families.

Responsible Use

Your school should already have a policy on ICT acceptable and responsible use. However, with the introduction of BYOD it is very likely that you will need to update or adapt your policy. You need to be clear about what is, and what is not, acceptable on a school’s network, and behaviour that is expected of young people, along with any sanctions that your institute will use if the rules are broken.

As well as formal procedures, it is also useful to work directly with young people so that they can create their own rules around device use (and this should also include the use of social media). Schools that have worked with students to co create acceptable use policies have found that they are more likely to be adhered to in the long run.

The important thing to remember about any acceptable use policy is that there is absolutely no right or wrong way to write one. Your policy needs to reflect your organisation, who you wish to communicate with and what you feel comfortable doing.

Also, as well as including BYOD in your institute’s ICT policy, you should make sure that it is included in your Learning and Teaching Policy – after all, why are we doing this in the first place if it is not to improve learning and teaching?

As mentioned above, BYOD is also likely to lead to increased use of Social Media in your school or institution, so it is also worth including this in your emerging policy. For reference, one country that is very progressive in the development of Social Media Policies in schools is Australia, in particular Victoria. They have provided some good social media guidance on their website (justice.vic.gov.au/socialmedia).

Equality of Access

If you go for a pure BYOD roll out, there will be some students who do not have a device or whose device does not meet the minimum specification of your institute.

For 1:1 learning to be successful, you must ensure that there is equality of access. This means that you are likely to have to put systems in place to ensure that students/families who do not have their own device can be provided with one, or are provided with some capital funding to purchase their own device. It is important that you have clear guidance on this to ensure that children are not deprived of their digital entitlement, but also to make sure that the model you are proposing  for your school is financially sustainable in the long term.

Some schools, for example, allow students to sign a range of devices out of the school library in the same way that they might sign out a book or game.The library (or learning centre) can also double up as a location where you can get your devices serviced or get training on a specific piece of software or an App. In the most successful examples these ‘service desks’ are run by senior students.

Shape the Future, an initiative led by Microsoft (in partnership with Intel and RM Education in the UK), is one
possible way to help supply 1:1 tablets and laptops to UK state schools with possible savings on individual devices.

What is great about this particular programme is that the hardware comes bundled with some great education software such as Microsoft Office and Kodu game maker.

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