BYOD continues to change the learning ecosystem, which includes administrators, teachers, faculty, students and school IT. Today, schools supplement books and whiteboards with smartphones, web portals and other technologies that make education an interactive experience. The consumerization of IT (CoIT) is driving widespread adoption of mobile devices throughout K-12 programs, supplementing school-owned desktops and laptops.
While there are many benefits of BYOD and CoIT in education, getting everyone involved in the learning process (including parents) to collaborate in and outside the classroom is the most compelling. Another advantage is that BYOD allows schools to stretch IT resources, and do more with less. And even with tighter budgets, they can overcome technical and socio-economic barriers that may impact a quality education.
More than a technology initiative, however, BYOD can be an equalizer; it can democratize education and enable universal learning environments, accessible to everyone. The combination of affordable devices and growing adoption of BYOD in K-12 is enabling schools to succeed in achieving their 1-to-1 computing goals.
Among those served by BYOD – school administrators, teachers, students, parents and IT personnel – a successful program requires centralization, browser-based accessibility, and mobility.
Schools must centralize their technology infrastructure to extend the life of their Windows desktops, applications and legacy systems. By centralizing these resources, IT can provide secure access to learning curriculum across a broad range of school-issued computers and devices in addition to those owned by teachers, students and parents.
Moreover, centralization enables understaffed IT teams to manage day-to-day operations more efficiently and cost-effectively. Aside from cost savings, however, the real value of centralization is the flexibility for teachers and students to be more productive in and outside the classroom.
Today’s HTML5-compliant Web browsers provide universal, device-agnostic access to school resources. One result is that schools no longer have to manage endpoint devices and install software and updates. Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari all support HTML5 and are widely available on smartphones, phablets, tablets and computers. Browser-based accessibility removes the technical barriers of installing and managing device specific apps, reduces costs and most importantly gives teachers and students flexible options to connect, collaborate and learn.
The pervasiveness of cloud computing and mobility will continue to provide new opportunities, streamline processes and create unique learning environments. However, the utility of mobile devices will only be as good as the resources schools can make easily accessible. Remote access technology enables schools to deliver next-generation education and curriculum to anyone, from anywhere using an array of devices – all via a web browser.
As students, teachers and administrators increasingly use their own computing devices, schools must rethink how they can take advantage of centralized IT resources, browser-based accessibility and mobility to garner efficiency and identify new opportunities that ensure a positive learning experience.