Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in K-12 Classrooms: A Discourse Analysis on the Impact of BYOD in Teaching and Student Learning
Abstract: This paper is a report on the findings of different research studies conducted in K-12 classrooms regarding the development and implementation of BYOD for technology integration in teaching and student learning. Discourse analysis and critical thinking techniques are used to examine and evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of BYOD in providing opportunities of new mobile technology and quality education for students. Likewise, BYOD demonstrates a more significant role in transforming today’s classroom culture, even when mobile technology is used or not used in an effective and collaborative manner. However, there are different factors that need to be considered when developing and implementing BYOD, including establishing appropriate policy for K-12 schools or districts.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is an innovative technology trend that continues to build a significant presence in K-12 education, particularly on the impact of BYOD in teaching and student learning (The Journal, 2012). The presence of different mobile devices, including tablets, laptops, clickers, smartphones, portable media players, has become common in the classrooms or workplaces among students, teachers, administrators, and staff (The Journal, 2012). However, students do not necessarily own these mobile devices that are seen in some K-12 classrooms (The Journal, 2012). Some schools or districts provide these mobile devices, depending on available funding and financial resources (The Journal, 2012). Many schools or districts are reluctant to open network accessibility to students who own or have access to mobile devices (The Journal, 2012). This includes the implementation of policy and regulations that (a) prevent students from bringing mobile devices in the campus premises due to possible harmful effects on network safety and security, (b) instruct students to hide owned mobile devices or suffer the consequences of fines from confiscation, (c) reprimand students in academic and/or behavioral standing when mobile devices are taken from their possession by school administration, and the like (The Journal, 2012). Though availability of these mobile devices in some K-12 classrooms are based on authorization from school administration, the existence of BYOD continues to be developed and implemented to support and prepare students on the current demands of global society (The Journal, 2012).
The changes that technology continues to generate in today’s society create significant effects in people’s views, opinions, beliefs, and ideas (Neubert, 2010). As technology transforms and influences different aspects of modern living and thinking, it is important to recognize people’s needs and experiences in developing relevant and meaningful contributions to the social well-being of others (Neubert, 2010). According to John Dewey (1938), there is “a reciprocal and mutual relation between democracy and education” (Neubert 2010, p. 487). Likewise, “democracy cannot endure, or develop, without education” (Neubert 2010, p. 487). In doing so, Neubert (2010) explains that:
The educative power of democracy can only be fully realized when it is experienced in direct participation in communities of shared interests that cooperatively solve joint problems (p. 487). Local communities can provide opportunities for direct democratic involvement in groups, networks, and social movements that articulate the multitude of experiences by which democracy is enlivened (p. 487).
How can democracy and education be linked with the impact of technology in education? The evident presence of technology in modern education demonstrates both rewards and drawbacks (Neubert, 2010). Schools and districts that have the available technology can reap the rewards of collaboration and communication among stakeholders (Neubert, 2010). This includes the development and creation of interests (i.e. employment opportunities, economic growth and equality), and the establishment of productive and meaningful relationships (Neubert, 2010). However, schools and districts that do not have the available technology are challenged with providing equitable opportunities for stakeholders to obtain accessibility in developing relevant and rigorous learning experiences (Neubert, 2010). For instance, individuals who have limited access to available technologies can experience “minimal control over conditions of ones’ subsistence” (Neubert, 2010, p. 490).
The variety of mobile technologies that exist and continue to be developed in today’s society has considerably made an impact in the education world (Harris, 2012). Products such as iPads, iPod Touches, iPhones, Android tablets, Galaxy tablets, Kindle tablets, Surface tablets, laptops, media players, smartphones, and other mobile devices are strongly making their presence in K-12 classrooms (Harris, 2012). These different products are becoming or have become part of classroom instruction, with the desired objectives, to include and not limited to: (a) engage and motivate students in developing meaningful learning experiences; (b) support and enhance rigorous curriculum as part of promoting successful student performance; and, (c) provide professional development of teachers concerning technology integration in content delivery and instruction (Nelson, 2012). Despite the reluctance of schools and districts to open their networks to its student-owned and teacher-owned mobile devices, these stakeholders use mobile technologies to create projects and complete work-related tasks outside of the school-owned or district-owned network (Nelson, 2012). Eventually, the products developed from these mobile devices are shared in the classroom through transferring of data and information, which may not be easily established with limited or outdated school-owned or district-owned technologies (Norris & Soloway, 2011).
Many schools are moving towards embracing BYOD to enhance teaching and learning (The Journal, 2012). The availability of mobile technologies in schools or districts have enabled opportunities for students and teachers to: (a) learn any time, any place (Nelson, 2012); (b) build self-esteem in accomplishing difficult or challenging academic tasks (Nelson, 2012); (c) learn and develop world languages (Nelson, 2012); (d) share and communicate assigned tasks (Nelson, 2012); (e) provide further assistance with regard to accomplishing or completing assignments (Nelson, 2012); (f) provide immediate news and announcements on successes and achievements (Nelson, 2012), (g) improve student engagement through more opportunities of authentic collaboration, communication, and creativity (The Journal, 2012); (h) increase school staff productivity using effective and efficient tools that are common tools for everyday use (The Journal, 2012); (i) improve the operation and management of schools with the goals of establishing desirable efficiencies (The Journal, 2012); and, (j) expand existing technology infrastructures to accommodate a variety of mobile technologies (The Journal, 2012), to name a few.
Previous technology-based initiatives have advocated for a school to provide each student with a laptop (1:1 laptop programs) that have been very costly to schools and districts (Nelson, 2012). Only a few schools or districts have remained in providing funding to continue their respective 1:1 laptop programs (Norris & Soloway, 2011). Some schools or districts are fortunate when school communities approve bonds to continue technology programs, such as renewing laptops for students (Norris & Soloway, 2011). As financial resources of schools or districts become more limited or reduced, there are more reasons to move toward BYOD (Nelson, 2012). The right BYOD program can provide flexibility and efficiency in protecting and using current technology investment to adapt new services, solutions, and devices (The Journal, 2012). Prior to the development and implementation of BYOD in K-12 classrooms, there are different opportunities and challenges that schools or districts have to address to ensure that students, teachers, administration, and staff are provided with appropriate preparation (Nelson, 2012). Some of these challenges may include, but not limited to, readiness in adopting into the new era of “flash traffic” where a variety of devices have multiple applications that are used to establish connections anytime, anywhere (The Journal, 2012).
With the abundance of different technologies that are readily available to students and teachers, these stakeholders may be tempted to purchase mobile devices that may not be compatible with the school’s or district’s network structure. The technology marketplace is of no help when it comes to preventing students and teachers from acquiring the newest and latest mobile technologies, as product varieties and prices influence higher levels of consumerism (Raths, 2012). In doing so, many school districts are pondering and rethinking current policies and regulations with regard to the development and implementation of BYOD for teaching and student learning (Harris, 2012). Likewise, schools and districts have to recognize the different challenges that they may face when considering BYOD program for students and teachers. This includes (a) reviewing current network standing on safety and security from possible harmful effects of BYOD; (b) realizing the influx of heterogeneous mobile devices that students and teachers will bring in the classrooms; (c) identifying the availability of financial resources to support students and teachers who may not have immediate access to individual mobile devices; (d) identifying the application or software that will be compatible to be used and installed in the heterogeneity of devices that students and teachers may own; and (e) establishing appropriate and efficient policies and regulations to protect students’ and teachers’ safety (Norris & Soloway, 2011).
Findings and Analysis
Many colleges and universities have started the implementation of the BYOD program, way ahead of K-12 schools and districts, to support teaching and student learning, particularly in providing access to books, materials, and other resources that students may need in fulfilling requirements for different content specialization (Norris & Soloway, 2011). Notwithstanding the benefits of the BYOD program in higher education, there are challenges that result from students being mandated to bring their respective technology devices in the campus (Norris & Soloway, 2011). This includes: the level of functionality that student-owned mobile devices might be capable of having and doing; the affordability for students to acquire their own mobile devices; and, the control and management of schools on student-owned devices (Norris & Soloway, 2011). In doing so, how can higher education maintain equity in possessing adequate devices for students from low-income families (Norris & Soloway, 2011)? How can higher education ensure academic achievement to students from low-income families in the use of adequate mobile devices (Norris & Soloway, 2011)? How can the use of student-owned devices promote equal and equitable access to technology resources that are necessary in students’ courses (Norris & Soloway, 2011)?
The BYOD program is becoming prevalent in different K-12 schools or districts (The Journal, 2012). A significant reason for schools or districts to consider BYOD is the cost of keeping up to date with current technologies, specifically the costs involved in purchasing computer applications and software, in maintaining and preserving hardware, in providing professional development for teachers and campus technologists, and in managing time to develop and collaborate lessons and activities of current technologies (Nelson, 2012). However, schools or districts cannot disregard or neglect the importance of investigating (a) scalability (i.e. increasing network bandwidth) in accommodating new devices that may come into the picture; (b) security (i.e. firewall protection) in the number of users and devices that may be accessing the network; (c) manageability in ensuring compliance in meeting policies, regardless of the manner users or devices are connected to the network; (d) simplicity in handling and addressing more complex issues; (e) budget in managing possible damages; (f) accountability in supporting successful student outcomes; and, (g) effective use of new mobile technologies to provide more meaningful learning experiences and to increase proficiency among stakeholders (The Journal, 2012). Should BYOD be considered in K-12 classrooms, there are some basic questions that may be considered to evaluate the possibility of implementing BYOD (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012). As indicated in the infographic below, these basic questions include: (a) “Who buys the devices?”; (b) “What’s the right policy?”; (c) “What’s the employee’s role?”; (d) “What’s the impact on it?”; (e) “How do we tackle security?”; and, (f) “How about apps?” (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012).
Figure 1: An infographic representation of BYOD: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. This infographic illustrates the basic questions of appropriateness in implementing a BYOD program in an institution or organization. (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012)
After many years and billions of dollars in funding spent in promoting and deploying computers as part of classroom instruction and student learning in K-12 schools, the impact of computers on student achievement has been significantly disappointing (Norris & Soloway, 2011). There are some schools and districts that have implemented the 1:1 laptop initiative to support 21st century learning based on identified students’ and teachers’ needs. However, computers in K-12 classrooms are mostly used to support the same textbooks, curriculum, and teaching practices that continue to represent traditional classroom settings (Norris & Soloway, 2011). As the same ideology and curriculum is adapted into everyday teaching and student learning, this may simply lead to the creation of the new “normal” set of school and classroom structures and practices (Gottesman, p. 574). This means that the act or desire for change may merely result in the adaptation of the same methodologies despite the use of current technologies.
Traditional classroom setting may be illustrated in the form of an educational curriculum that is based on unchanged (a) learning concepts of basic facts and information, (b) theories of student developmental stages (i.e. Jean Piaget, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), and (c) practices. In doing so, the integration of mobile technologies cannot provide the changes that may be anticipated to advocate for higher levels of critical and analytical thinking, connection with real-word situations, and deeper understanding of equal and equitable access to resources (Nelson, 2012). Schools and districts struggle to identify and understand the true meaning of relevant technology integration in teaching and student learning (Norris & Soloway, 2011). Likewise, schools and districts interpreted the presence of computers as mere add-on tools to promote the same theories, methodologies, and practices, instead of exploring more critical and innovative strategies to use technology in changing curriculum (Norris & Soloway, 2011).
The common mentality of the “I teach” curriculum may be another challenge in the development and implementation of the BYOD program in K-12 classrooms (Norris & Soloway, 2011). The application of this mentality may create the same learning environments that schools and districts desire to change, even when current mobile technologies are used to deliver classroom instruction (Norris & Soloway, 2011). In doing so, the implementation of the BYOD program could act as another medium to propagate the same ideology and curriculum that have been in existent in the conventional classroom (Neubert, 2010). Teachers have been used to deliver information through lectures, whole group discussion, and teacher-led instruction, to name a few (Neubert, 2010). For this reason, students often obtain new learning experiences that have been based on the same methodologies and theoretical practices (Neubert, 2010). If schools and districts desire for students to think “outside-of-the box” using innovative applications from mobile technologies, it may be necessary for changes to begin in the curriculum, itself. This includes the (a) adaptation of constructivism in redesigning curriculum and content delivery; (b) establishment of opportunities for students and teachers to exhibit increased student achievement through open discourse and critical thinking; and, (c) development of relevant and meaningful goals and objectives in implementing BYOD program to support teaching and student learning (Neubert, 2010).
K-12 schools or districts who may be interested in considering and implementing a BYOD program have to plan effectively and efficiently to address the different opportunities and challenges that may result from such a decision. The evidences and information from the different research studies that have been used in this paper have identified the importance of: (a) understanding the concept and definition of BYOD with regard to its impact on teaching and student learning; (b) recognizing policy and regulations concerning network accessibility and quality of network structure; (c) defining the goals and objectives in implementing BYOD, including the beneficiaries who may be using mobile technologies; (d) the impact of cost in providing technical support and assistance to ensure quality and efficient service to users of mobile technologies; (e) the impact of cost in guaranteeing that all students and teachers have access to mobile technologies; (f) providing appropriate strategies in securing network from possible harmful effects of heterogeneous mobile devices; and, (g) considering appropriate and relevant applications that will support students’ academic achievement and classroom instruction.
Chadband, E. (2012). Should schools embrace “bring your own device”?. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/
DeWitt, P. (2012). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2012/08/are_schools_prepared_to_let_students_byod.html
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. (Producer). (2012). Teachers quick guide to BYOD. [Web Graphic]. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/09/teachers-quick-guide-to-byod.html?cid=dlvr.it
EDTECH Staff. (2012). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2012/02/why-your-school-should-consider-byod-initiative
Faas, R. (2012). Why BYOD is a disaster waiting to happen for schools. Retrieved from http://www.cultofmac.com/176277/why-byod-is-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-for-schools/
Ferrare, J. J., & Apple, M. W. (2012). Schooling in disadvantaged communities: playing the game from the back of the field , by Carmen Mills and Trevor Gale, London and New York, Springer, 2010, 131 pp., £90.00 (hardback), ISBN 978-90-481-3343-7. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 20(2), 341-351. doi:10.1080/14681366.2012.689500
Gottesman, I. (2012). From Gouldner to Gramsci: The making of Michael Apple's ideology and curriculum. Curriculum Inquiry, 42(5), 571-596. doi:10.1111/j.1467-873X.2012.00612.x
Harris, C. (2012). Going Mobile. School Library Journal, 58(1), 14.
ISTE connects blog. (2012). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://blog.iste.org/finding-success-with-bring-your-own-device/
Johnson, D. (2012). On Board with BYOD. Educational Leadership, 70(2), 84-85.
Koeneman, C. (2012). GOING BYOD? The case of virtualizing your wireless network. District Administration, 48(6), 4.
Lenovo Education. (2012). K12 education technology: Best practices for k12 computing. Retrieved from http://www.k12educationtechnology.com/tag/byod/
Livingston, P. (2012). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/06/bring-your-own-device-questions-to.html
Nelson, D. (2012). BYOD. Internet@Schools, 19(5), 12-15.
Neubert, S. (2010). Democracy and education in the twenty-first century: Deweyan pragmatism and the question of racism N. Educational Theory, 60(4), 487-502. doi:10.1111/j.1741-5446.2010.00372.x
Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2011). BYOD as the Catalyst to Transform Classroom Culture. District Administration, 47(9), 114.
Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2011). From Banning to BYOD. District Administration, 47(5), 94
Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2011). Tips for BYOD K12 Programs. District Administration, 47(7), 77.
Poole, B. J., Sky-McIlvain, E., Evans, J., & Singer, Y. (2011). Education for an information age teaching in the computerized classroom 7th edition. (7th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.pitt.edu/~poole/InfoAge7frame.html
PROFILE. (2012). T H E Journal, 39(5), 58.
Puente, K. (2012). High School Pupils Bring Their Own Devices. District Administration, 48(2), 64.
Raths, D. (2012). Are You Ready for BYOD? (Cover story). T H E Journal, 39(4), 28-32.
Schachter, R. (2012). Creating a robust and safe BYOD program. District Administration, 48(4), 28-32.
Sicking, J. (2012). BYOD: Embracing technology in k-12 schools. Retrieved from http://www.indstate.edu/news/news.php?newsid=3344
Tay, L., Lim, C., Lye, S., Ng, K., & Lim, S. (2011). Open-source learning management system and Web 2.0 online social software applications as learning platforms for an elementary school in Singapore. Learning, Media & Technology, 36(4), 349-365. doi:10.1080/17439884.2011.615322
The 21st Century Principal. (2012). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://the21stcenturyprincipal.blogspot.com/2012/02/5-areas-of-consideration-for-developing.html
The Journal. (2012). BYOD in education. The Journal, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/whitepapers/2012/cisco_12a/byod/byod-education.aspx?sc_lang=en
The Journal. (2012). Every child, every day: Mooresville’s “digital conversion” puts kids first. The Journal, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/whitepapers/2012/cisco_12a/byod/every-child-every-day-mooresville-digital-conversion.aspx?sc_lang=en
The Journal. (2012). Ohio schools provide students with unlimited computer access. The Journal, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/whitepapers/2012/cisco_12a/vxi/ohio-schools-students-unlimited-computer-access.aspx?sc_lang=en
The Journal. (2012). Schools plug into BYOD: Mobile devices transform learning at Katy ISD. The Journal, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/whitepapers/2012/cisco_12a/byod/schools-byod-mobile-devices.aspx?sc_lang=en
Watters, A. (2012). To Have and Have Not. (Cover story). School Library Journal, 58(5), 34-37.
Educational Leader. Advocate of Equality and Equity in Education. Photographer. Graphic Designer. Web Developer. Digital Artist. Technology is my medium for creative and artistic expression.