Schools are working hard to provide their students with technology-enhanced learning, but at the moment they’re falling short. CDW•G’s 2011 21st Century Classroom Report found that 86 percent of students use technology more outside of school than they do in class. A major reason is access. Although many schools provide notebook carts and computer labs, students often have to leave the classroom and go to another part of the school to use a computer or share time with other students.

A “bring your own device” (BYOD) initiative overcomes this access hurdle, much as one-to-one computing programs do, but without the capital costs associated with purchasing the technology or the need to refresh, support and train users. With BYOD, students are responsible for figuring out and fixing their own devices.

Schools that have embraced BYOD are enjoying other benefits as well:

Schools meet students’ “digital expectations.” The current generation of students has grown up with technology and want to use it in every aspect of their daily lives — including school. They have an expectation that the same technology they use at home will be available at school.

Schools invested heavily in classroom and mobile learning technologies recognize this demand and are trying to meet it. Unfortunately, it’s not happening everywhere, as the 21st Century Classroom Report reveals: Just 39 percent of high school students said that their school is currently meeting their technology expectations.

Student participation increases. Students like using their personal devices, so they become engaged in whatever it is that they’re doing with them — including classwork, which becomes even more interactive when everyone has access to technology. Unlike a school-provided device, the personal device (and the desire to continue using it) goes home with the student. In this way, BYOD enables and fosters 24×7 learning.

Student collaboration and communication increases. According to the21st Century Classroom Report, 59 percent of students use technology to communicate with other students and 14 percent use it to communicate with teachers — but just 23 percent leverage its potential for collaboration.

A BYOD initiative, paired with the development of web-based learning management systems, class-specific social networking spaces and academic applications, can provide students with far greater opportunities to interact virtually with teachers, study with online tutors and work with other students on assignments, projects and content creation.

The digital divide is reduced. Instead of spending dollars to buy redundant learning devices for students who already own such tools, school IT departments can invest that money in devices for students who lack their own.

Source: ED Tech

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