In the early 90’s in India there was one question, which was asked regularly in all debates, meetings, forums, etc.
“Are computers beneficial for education?”
Then in late 90’s came another question,
“Is Internet a boon or curse for students?”
is the root of any society’s development and it is human psychology to have inertia when our basics are challenged. However, we all know the answers to the above questions. Technology in education has always helped the young minds pace faster and smarter.
So, now comes the question of this decade, BYOD also known as “Bring Your Own Device”. It entered first in 2009 by the courtesy of Intel. This was a strategy to cut down technology cost because of financial crisis and improve productivity of employees. The result, now we are incorporating it in all fields of our life, even education. And it is a boon for developing countries.
BYOD, also known as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) or BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) or BYOPC (Bring Your Own PC) means bringing your own personal digital device to classrooms for help in studies. We all know that this is a technology era, and there is a huge pool of information on the internet and technology provides it to us instantly. If we can use a device to gain knowledge in our house, or work then why not right where it all starts, schools?
BYOD has huge advantages but the pertinent question here is, what are the methods to enhance its usability or how can it be used to improve learning?
The methods highly depend on the course and structure and most of all involvement of teachers with students. It can be developed into a learning procedure rather than a teaching one.
First in this list comes, e-books. They are easily accessible, are definitely lighter than textbooks and one can never forget it at home. Students can take notes, search for various links similar to the topic, then and there.
Online forums, discussions, and social media in the class. In any class there are some students who are introvert in nature. For them, an online forum made for the class on a topic can be a real boon. Any student can ask any question from the teacher at any time through social media, e-mails etc. they can have group discussions on topics by themselves. In the meantime the teacher just needs to remain involved and guide, wherever necessary.
A simple example can be, if the teacher is busy, he/she can just tell the students to read an article on a link or take an online test (which can be easily programmed to have random questions) while he/she is away.
One can wonder that how is BYOD more beneficial than a computer lab? First of all, the answer is hidden in the word “lab”. It defines an area, regulations, less freedom to think, less productivity.
An artist can never gain inspiration in a closed room! With great BYOD strategies things are getting easier for teachers to enhance learning through devices.
Apart from that BYOD will allow schools to concentrate more on the quality of devices for students who cannot afford them. Personalized bookmarks, settings, etc. can help students be more productive and fast learners. The work can be taken back to home and teachers may demand to have them submitted through e-mail etc. before a specific time.
The technology has already been used in many schools and universities across U.S. and Europe. The results from all these places have been much more than just satisfactory. The myth that technology will distract students, needs to be broken in the minds of parents. Technology has always improved learning when ued with a purpose and will continue to do so in coming eras.