Middle schools and high schools all over the country are constantly revising their own Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies. Should students be allowed to use their own personal computers, or should they be required to work only on school-issued technology?
The Argument for Allowing Students to Use Their Own Devices
There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons to allow responsible students to bring their own laptops or tablets to class. Research shows that “one-to-one” programs – those in which each student has a computer – can increase student learning in a wide variety of subjects. There’s no doubt that today’s student is more technologically savvy and more digitally inclined than students were just ten years ago. Supporting that skillset is something schools should take seriously as they prepare to send students out into a digital world.
When students are allowed to bring their own devices, there’s less of a learning curve. They spend less time getting acquainted with their hardware and more time using it productively, at least in theory. In districts where a significant number of students can afford their own devices, only having to supply some school-issued devices can be a real boon for the budget. But what about the myriad reasons why schools shouldn’t allow students to BYOD?
Arguments Against Students Bringing their Own Laptops or Tablets
When schools supply the technology, they maintain a level of control. This is particularly important when it comes to schools’ “acceptable use policies,” which are usually reinforced with firewall technology and advanced web filtering tools. When students all use school-issued devices on a school-run network, educators who’ve implemented strong network security solutions can rest assured students aren’t accessing inappropriate materials or inviting in malware.
There are many who argue that increased technology in the classroom is only a distraction. When students have their own devices, monitoring technology usage (and just as importantly, time usage) is more complex than it is when everyone has the same tools. Without a way to monitor 4G access, schools are at a bit of a loss when it comes to controlling the content students may be able to access using their own open devices. At the very least, it’s certainly more difficult to control how much time students waste on their devices when the playing field is uneven.
Smoothwall believes in the power of educational technology. That’s why we’ve spent years developing the most comprehensive web filtering solution on the market along with a host of security tools schools use to keep their networks safe.
Content Aware web filtering is unlike anything else. Schools rely on our real-time content analysis software to instantly and seamlessly block access to content students shouldn’t see while allowing material that’s actually educational. Content Aware technology is intuitive, it’s proactive, and it’s far more sophisticated than traditional URL block lists.
Smoothwall is happy to work with your school on a better network security solution no matter what your BYOD policy is. Technology is changing the American classroom…it’s our job to innovate the tools schools use to keep their students safe.
Our specially developed technologies deliver real-time Dynamic Content Analysis™ of web pages, all without impacting on the users’ experience.