• Tara O'Brien

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

BYOD is an acronym for “Bring Your Own Device.” BYOD is a technology-enhanced learning model permitting students to interact and complete work via their personal device (including tablets, laptops, or mobile device). BYOD is a heavily contested topic within education and research supporting its usage is limited.

Cristal and Gimbert (2014) argue that recent reports by the National Science Board (2012) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2010) prove that when “effective mobile learning is incorporated into a receptive learning environment, student achievement will increase” (Cristal & Gimbert, 2014, p. 24). They argue that students use mobile devices for communication and informational needs, and that the future of the “STEM focused economy” requires a high level of skill in both of this areas (Cristal & Gimbert, 2014, p. 28).



I currently work at a school which is fortunate enough to be able to provide a tablet and/or laptop device to each student. Thus, my school has a “no devices from home” policy across campus. Students are not permitted to use their personal computers, tablets, or mobile phones at school. The primary reason for this rule is “safety” due to an inability to supervise usage of personal devices and the secondary reason is a real/or perceived “distraction to learning” that personal devices may create.

I recognize that not all schools have the financial means to provide devices to students and concede that BYOD may be necessary in these cases to enable technology-enhanced instruction. However, I would also argue that ICT is and should be a part of all curricula and therefore schools should be provided with appropriate funding to buy and maintain hardware and software to support learning.


Risks and Mitigation

The “risks” or “challenges” to BYOD extend beyond the obvious examples of “security” and “privacy.” Students may become distracted by their smartphone (Anshari et al., 2015), students may rely too heavily on their personal device for self-management skills (Wang, 2016), smartphones may encourage shorter face-to-face interactions between students (Kosnik & Dharamshi, 2016), students may lose their personal device and be unable to participate, students may pay more attention to their device than to their peers during collaborative worktime, and prolonged screen usage may result in long term eye problems (Anshari et al., 2016).

The security and privacy issues are many, but there are steps that can mitigate risk. For example, schools can ensure that they include Digital Citizenship instruction to support students in recognizing security and privacy risks. Cristal and Gimbert (2014) recognize that while the BYOD model may facilitate learning, it also requires teachers to “give up some level of control” and trust that students use their devices “appropriately and effectively” (Cristal & Gimbert, 2014). Thus, teachers must support students in developing skills and mindsets supporting appropriate and safe technology use from a young age.



Anshari, M., Alas, Y., & Guan, L. S. (2015b). Pervasive Knowledge, Social Networks, and Cloud Computing: E-Learning 2.0. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 11(5), 909–921. doi: 10.12973/eurasia.2015.1360a.

Cristal, D., Gimbert, B. (2014). Academic achievement in BYOD classrooms. Journal of Applied Learning Technology, 4(1). 24-30. american achievement in BYOD classrooms.pdf

Kosnik, C., & Dharamshi, P. (2016). Intertwining Digital Technology and Literacy Methods Courses. In Building Bridges (pp. 163–177). SensePublishers. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-6300-491-6_12

Wang, Y. C. (2016). Exploring the Causes of Smartphone Dependency and Purchasing Behavior. In Advanced Applied Informatics (IIAI-AAI), 2016 5th IIAI International Congress on (pp. 745–748). IEEE.

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