Is BYOD the Answer to Our Problems or the Worst Idea Ever?
Is it the worst idea of the 21st century or a concept that will bring more connectivity to our schools? “Bring
your own device” (BYOD) is the
notion that schools should expect
students to use their own computing
tools—smartphones and the like—in
class. The idea has prompted a vigorous debate among ed tech bloggers.
On the face of it, it seems simple.
If we let every kid with a smartphone
bring the device to school, more
kids will have access to the internet.
No more excuses about budget constraints preventing access. No more digital divide, right?
Not so fast, says Gary Stager in his post “BYOD—Worst
Idea of the 21st Century” ( http://stager.tv/blog/?p=2397).
Stager thinks that expecting students to use their own
devices in schools will actually widen the digital divide
because some students will have much better devices than
others, and some will get the school hand-me-downs. He
also says that BYOD increases teacher anxiety and dimin-
ishes the potential of educational computing to the weakest
device in the room. (You can read his arguments in Point/
Counterpoint on pages 6–7.) Stager says:
Education must not be viewed as some competitive,
commercial, “every man for himself” enterprise that
relies on children to find loose change behind the sofa
cushions. Democracy and a high-quality educational
system require adequate funding.
Stager’s post drew more than 50 comments, some in
agreement and others taking issue with his arguments,
such as this one from a commenter named Dylan:
BYOD is the future (like it or not) largely because
schools lack the resources (money) and some lack the
knowledge to successfully implement 1: 1 technology.
BYOD allows collaboration, sharing of resources, and
mirrors the outside world. Tough reality out there, but
some people drive a Mercedes and some drive Fords.
Other commenters sided with Stager:
Can you imagine the possibility of 25 students walking
into a classroom with what could amount to 25 differ-
ent devices and not knowing or having the ability to be
able to troubleshoot all the different
devices? With a teacher afraid
of computers? —Angie
Diana Fingal is the senior editor for L&L. She has been writing for and editing periodicals for more than 20 years.