Bring Your Own Device in Australian Schools

Posted by AVT Team on 21 January 2015 | Comments

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For those of you who haven’t heard of BYOD yet within the Australian education or corporate spheres, it stands for ‘Bring Your Own Device’, and it is the next big step in establishing the technological revolution of education within our schools. The integration of devices into schools is not an entirely new concept, with the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) program which has been around since 2007 being a multinational organisation now (including involvement by Australia). This program in general has been met with widespread criticism in the U.S after the abandonment of the program by one executive, and the obvious environmental issues such as maintenance and safety of a laptop within a school environment. For those of you who are familiar with the slow and often frustrating changes in the methods of delivering education, this all comes as no surprise.

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 The emergence of the BYOD policy in Australia (which was posted on the Department of Education and Training’s website in late 2013) proposes to re-approach the way we tackle technological implementation in our schools through self funding (and as a result leaving funds aside to invest into school based infrastructure to support this revolution). Of course there are still an entire list of issues which remain unsolved with this approach: parents are expected to fund their child’s device, the environmental dangers of a Year 8 or Year 9 student with a valuable piece of technology remains, many schools are not completely compatible with this leap in technology yet, and many other considerations for the future.

What is surprising therefore, is that according to the Australian School Library Survey, one third of Australian schools are encouraging their students to bring their own device (whilst many onlookers are still stunned by the original choice to implement digital education). Some reviewers of the situation (like the Sydney Morning Herald) liken the situation to “providing your own surgical tools for elective surgery”.

Whilst it is obvious that technology is the way of the future for Australian schools, the question is “Are schools, students and parents ready?”, or more specifically “Is the Australian policy behind BYOD ready for the potential backlash from the people who aren’t?”.

 

- AVT Team