BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the Classroom

A new technology trend has been making the rounds in education. The technology trend is called BYOD or Bring Your Own Device. In higher education, this idea is not really that new. It has become second nature for a student to bring a laptop and their mobile device to a class. But with the increase access to more mobile devices (such as tablets, smartphones, eReaders, and laptops), an instructor might wonder, how can I engage my student in class while their use their own devices (or should I)?

Some see the BYOD trend as a negative trend. Having devices floating around during a lecture may cause a student not to focus on the content of the lecture. Others have taken that point of view and flipped it, and asked, how can I get the student to become engaged with my content by using their own device? We have blogged about using software to set up polling questions and that students can answer using their laptops and mobile devices. That is one way BYOD could work in the classroom.

Another way BYOD can work, is by inviting a guest lecturer to speak to your students through a webcam. Programs like Skype can open a whole new world to your students and if they need to interview somebody that is not in the local area or if they are studying a language and need a native speaker of that language to help them along (or lecture to the students) their devices may come in handy in the classroom. Also, students can use their devices to capture the audio and video and later use it as a study aid or reference for a research project.

Connecting with people live is a great tool in the classroom, but one can also have students view clips of a published video lecture (iTunesU or TedEd) as an introduction to a new topic in the classroom. They can always bookmark the content and review it later since they are viewing it in a device they own.

Web based applications are perfect to use (such as Google Docs) for collaboration during a class or visualization applications like Google Maps or Earth to help emphasize a topic in your lecture. Most classroom have wireless access and some web applications like Google Docs can work offline. Students can view maps and add notes inside a web published document right on their own devices.

If BYOD is implemented in the correct way and with a directed purpose in the classroom, it can provide the students with a more engaging and memorable experience during a lecture.

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