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BYOD in Education: Access and infrastructure

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BYOD in Education: Access and infrastructure

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

Infrastructure and Bandwidth

Allowing students to bring in and use their own devices in schools will not be enough on its own to transform learning. Indeed, many BYOD and other 1:1 learning projects have failed across the world because, although the devices have been put in place, the bandwidth and infrastructure have not been adequate to support them.

Infrastructure and bandwidth are particularly important in BYOD deployments because most of the content that students will be required to access, and the content that they will be required to create, will be web based. Having wireless
infrastructure in your school is not enough on its own – many schools around the world already have this. But, by moving to BYOD you are also moving to a computing ratio of at least 1:1 (some students and teachers will want to be logged onto
your network with more than one device). This is likely to put significantly more pressure on your institute’s network than the current amount of devices that you have connected.

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Minimum Bandwidth

Answering the question of minimum bandwidth is a tricky one as there cannot be a one-size-fits all model. For example some schools will be bigger than others, and at certain ages and stages within a school it is likely that students will use different types of digital technology than may or may not be more bandwidth heavy that other tools and services (eg: online video editing vs reading a text heavy web page).

Safety and Security

Safety and Security around BYOD can really be split into two categories.

Firstly, there is physical safety and security. Schools need to carefully consider what procedure they will put in place if a student-owned device is stolen or damaged. This should include at school and at home as well as the journey between the two.

Secondly, there is network safety and security. Schools need to consider how this may be managed.

A global study of IT & IT security practitioners by the Ponemon Institute (2012) on mobility risks offers some advice into the most preferred technologies for mitigating BYOD security risks, which included:

  • Device-level encryption
  • Endpoint security solution
  • Identity and access management
  • Anti-virus/anti-malware
  • Mobile device management

The table below (from The Consortium of Schools Networking ) outlines a number of the ways that schools may tackle some of the challenges of managing some of these BYOD perceived security risks and their possible advantages.

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Source: The Consortium of Schools Networking

Whatever solution (if any) you choose to adopt, it is important that network managers have a healthy balance between protecting the user and making sure that safety and security measure that are put in place do not impact in the quality of the learning experience.

To learn more about BYOD, view or download our eBook below:

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