Devices at School


Connected devices in the classroom are becoming less and less of a taboo. In fact, many school districts are implementing programs within classroom walls that rely on students’ use of connected devices to enhance the learning process.

Interestingly, the trend toward BYOD (bring your own device) in the enterprise world is carrying over the education realm. According to Kathy Mickey, senior analyst for Simba Information’s Education Group,, a driving factor encouraging a BYOD model in today’s schools is the fact it tends to be a less expensive way to integrate devices into the curriculum.

According to Mickey, the BYOD model is generating the most interest at the high-school level because students are more likely to own their own devices. Mickey says Simba Information’s research has shown the BYOD concept is relatively new, and there are still many hurdles to address. Mainly, teachers must learn to manage disparate technology experiences due to different devices, feature sets, and operating systems.

However, many educators are looking to find ways to implement connected devices into the learning experience because it has shown to be successful in raising the level of student engagement. “There’s a general belief that the use of mobile devices in schools changes the way students learn and the way subjects are taught,” says Mickey. “The (devices) certainly make just about every bit of content more interactive and thus more engaging. Schools want to capture that student engagement and hang on to it.”

One school system, Forsyth County Schools,, in Cumming, Ga., is a great example of a school district paving the way for BYOD, which is also referred to as BYOT (bring your own technology). By encouraging students to bring their own personal tablets, netbooks, laptops, and even connected gaming devices to class, the district believes it will encourage in-class participation and interaction.

While the evolution of America’s school systems toward a more mobile-device-friendly model may take some time, many believe it is inevitable as society at large becomes more ubiquitously connected. For industry experts like Mickey, it is natural that the devices students and their parents use at home will eventually find a way into the classroom—whether teachers approve of it or not. So, an emerging perspective says: If you can’t get rid of devices at school, harness them for good.

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June/July 2014
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