The 3 B's of BYOD Tools

My school district just finished a BYOD pilot program and is preparing to roll-out BYOD to 5,500 middle and high school students early next school year.  As the district’s Instructional Technology Coordinator, I work with teachers to help them transition to teaching in a BYOD environment. One of the biggest obstacles teachers faced while working with student devices has been learning how each student’s device works with the tools the teacher uses in class.

In some cases, the lack of continuity between student devices is as small as where to go to add a Google account to Google Drive – on iOS devices, Google accounts can be added in Drive, but on Android devices, users have to go through the device’s account settings to add a Google account. In other cases, we have had to learn through trial and error which applications function differently on Android devices than they do on iOS devices and Windows phones (Padlet is difficult to use in Android’s preinstalled browser).  In other instances, certain tools or applications were only available on one operating system.

I quickly learned that dealing with device continuity would be one of the biggest struggles we would face as our BYOD program expanded and more teachers who aren’t necessarily tech savvy got involved.  To help combat this, I published the 3 B’s of BYOD Tools:

  1. Be Available.  Whichever tool a teacher decides to use should be available on all student devices, including web browsers.  This means that sometimes web applications like Padlet will be the way to go instead of iOS or Android apps.
  2. Be Free.  Just like we don’t expect students to buy their own textbooks, we shouldn’t expect students to regularly purchase apps for our classes.
  3. Be selective.  Master a handful of useful tools that simplify classroom procedures and make learning in a BYOD environment collaborative and authentic, such as Google Drive, Blogger, Padlet, and  Leave out apps that are more flash than substance or complicate simple classroom procedures.

Implementing the 3 B’s of BYOD Tools has helped teachers in my district spend less time on device management and more time working with students.  If you are getting ready to implement a BYOD initiative or are new to BYOD, be sure to consider the 3 B’s when selecting tools to use in your class.

This originally appeared as a guest blog post on's School of Thought blog.

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