Sunday, May 6, 2012

#BYOD - Criteria for Implementation Success #byodchat #edchat

#BYOD - Criteria for Implementation Success
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Source:  shows off her work in BYOT at her school this year for PD!  
This past week in a conversation, I found myself saying, “Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a rubric or list of criteria for implementing a BYOD program? That way, you could just share that with campus/district leaders so they could be aware of what was needed from 3 different perspectives: Teaching & Learning, Policy and Procedures, and Infrastructure & Administration.”  Everyone looked at me with expectation in their faces. Internally, I gave a long sigh.

That sigh isn’t unlike the sigh educators give in response to their increasing awareness that crafting a strategy to implement BYOD is important given the following statistics:

  • Nationwide, 55% of middle and high school students, as well as 25% of elementary students, own a mobile device (e.g. cell phone).
  • The average minor sends 50-100 text messages per day.
  • 58% of students in schools where cell phones are banned send text messages anyway.
  • Teens in the lowest income category are most likely to use their phones, instead of computers to go online.
  • 67% of parents are willing to buy their children a mobile device for educational purposes.
  • 83% of adults have mobile phones (Source:

In light of the facts above, it’s obvious that BYOD is an initiative whose time has come...and, in spite of fears--such as inappropriate social media usage by teachers and students--that may derail it:

According to the ruling, “Although it is possible that certain individual Facebook or MySpace pages could potentially contain material harmful to minors, we do not find that these websites are per se ‘harmful to minors’ or fall into one of the categories that schools and libraries must block.”
By clarifying that schools can allow access to social media websites without violating the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and risk losing coveted e-Rate dollars for telecommunications, the FCC opened access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other top social media sites for instructional use.
Source: Nora Carr, FCC opens access to social media sites for e-Rate users in eSchoolNews 9/26/2011

So, how do schools “get ready” to implement BYOD? Do they decide to do it one day and then spend a lot of time researching? To save others from spending their time doing this, and, after an extensive Google search of 20 minutes, I decided it might be easier to come up with my own list of BYOD implementation criteria.

“After running a one-to-one pilot, the district [Edina ISD] shelved the idea when it became apparent that students preferred using their personal mobile devices and that the cost of buying and ­refreshing ­notebooks every three to four years would be ­prohibitive. (For more on the district's early one-to-one efforts, visit

Consider the criteria in this document as a tool to facilitate conversations about planning and implementation! Remember, the goal of these criteria isn’t to deter implementation but serve as an aid to implementation success.

The growing popularity of “bring your own technology” (BYOT) programs is fueled, in part, by the idea that allowing student-owned devices to supplement school-purchased technology can help cut costs in these financially tight times and, in part, by the realization that learning can benefit from technology when students are mentored in appropriate applications. By taking advantage of student interest in technology, schools stand to benefit from more teachable moments in and out the classroom and to support and create personalized learning that is guided by teachers and peers.
Source: Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Report on Rethinking State and School Policies Concerning Mobile Technologies and Social Media -

Students, parents and teachers all have responded positively to the Edina ISD’s adoption of the BYOD model (Source:
  • Among participating students, 91 percent reported that having access to their own devices improved their learning.
  • The majority of parents say their children are more organized and complete more assignments than they did before the program.
  • Fully 97 percent of staff members say the combination of BYOD and a more robust notebook cart program has enhanced instruction.

The following list of criteria summarizes the work of various online resources on BYOD. I hope that it’s helpful to others who are trying to answer the question, Are we ready to implement BYOD? (if you’re still asking, SHOULD we implement BYOD, you are woefully behind the times).

True BYOD will never be a solution for schools that continue to focus on standardization of hardware and applications.  .  .Let’s face it, human beings tend to take better care of something they own versus something they rent. It is time to give our students ownership over their learning through the use of their own devices. (Source: Scott Meech, The Future of Ed-Tech is Bring Your Own Device)

The criteria below are grouped into three areas, which are as essential as the proverbial legs of a 3-legged stool:

  1. Learner-Centered Instruction: This section focuses on the WHY of a BYOD implementation and counsels aligning your District/campus vision and mission to BYOD initiative.
  2. Clarifying Expectations:  This section focuses on policies, procedures, and communicating with stakeholders, such as parents, students, and teachers.
  3. Technology Readiness: This section is centered on technology readiness. It is often the most expensive portion of BYOD implementation.

I hope these criteria will serve as a starting point for conversation in your school or district. If you have suggestions for additional criteria, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments. 
Note that GoogleDoc versions available for viewing, as well as another for community-editing, are avaialble online: 
Personal Edition: This version includes my revisions, adjustments to this document. -
Community Edition: This version is open to your editing and changes. -

Thanks in advance for your feedback and suggestions for improvement!

I. Learner-Centered Instruction

In this section, ask yourself, do you know WHY you’re embarking on a BYOD implementation? Is it just because it’s cool, and everyone else you know is doing it, so that’s what you need to do? Align the BYOD initiative with District and Campus mission and vision, reflect it in the district and campus technology plans, and reflect on how this will impact your district curriculum philosophy and approaches, as well as planning.

Score Your Organization
Design lessons that take advantage of the increased access to technology.Blending technology into instruction is everyone’s responsibility. If technology is irrelevant to a lesson, then the lesson is irrelevant to learners. Employ the HEAT rubric to move lessons in the right direction - (attached to this document)
Commitment to 1 to 1 learning environment where every student has technology access--and is prepared to use it academically.Schools that can’t afford a one to one laptop or iPad program need to shift their thinking. A BYOD program is a 1 to 1 learning environment. Have your learning activities been redesigned to support that focus on learning?
Create virtual classroom environments to facilitate connections, communication, collaboration and critical thinking needed for problem-solving.There are many tools available to facilitate learning through the use of technology. Teachers have to be willing to create virtual classroom environments (e.g. wikis, Edmodo, Moodle) where students can access and share resources 24/7, anytime/anywhere.
Personalized learning approaches are embraced in anticipation of BYOD.
Students are allowed to take ownership of their own learning and are able to decide what they are trying to learn. Find out more at
Provide training and monitoring on the elements of digital citizenship, cyberbullying, and sexting.
All staff and students are familiar with the appropriate use of social media, virtual classroom environments,
Teachers employ Professional learning networks (PLNs) to learn, create, and share instructional approaches.Teachers are actively encouraged to build professional learning networks (PLNs) through the use of social media like Twitter and hashtag-tracked conversations (#edchat), as well as blog/reflect about their learning and work in text and multimedia formats. .
Improve Student Engagement by focusing on redesigned learning rather than “research and find the answer.” (Source: develop digital literacy and information problem-solving approaches (e.g. Big6) to collaboratively create content and share it with a wider audience than the classroom.

II. Clarifying Expectations
In this section, have you set policy and administrative procedure that provides for responsible use of BYOD and the technologies made accessible via these devices in place? How have you communicated those to students, teachers, and parents? Remember, the goal of policy and procedure is to provide guidance and boundaries that empower end-users to be successful.

Score Your Organization (1-5 points)
Responsible Use Policy is in place and has been collaboratively developed with stakeholders including students, parents, teachers, and administrators at the campus/district level.Staff may use a personal device in place of (or along with) their district assigned devices if they choose.  Students may use a personal device in class for instructional use with teacher permission.  Disclaimer: “I understand that if my device is damaged or stolen while on District property I will not hold the District liable for the replacement or repair of my device.  I understand that any data and/or SMS/MMS (texting) charges will not be reimbursed by the District.”

I understand that for my device to be compatible with the District BYOT initiative some software may need to be installed (by me, not the Technology Department) on the device.  I understand that I will only have access to the guest wireless service that the District has provided.  I understand that I will not have access to the wired network.  I understand that my Internet will still be filtered by the District content filter when I am connected to the guest wireless service.
Progressive disciplinary action based on level of offense against the policy put in place.
Avoid putting new discipline actions in place--especially those that deny access to technology--to handle new infractions. Instead, decide how traditional discipline actions can best be used to handle BYOD offenses.
Determine who pays for theft, loss or damage of student-owned and/or teacher-owned devices.
Establish policy and practices that devices are secured in a cabinet during breaks, lunch, and physical education for those students who would prefer that security. (Source:
Determine whether schools will require parents to pay for student-owned devices as BYOD takes off, not unlike a band instrument.
Communicate with parents and let them know whether the technology they have purchased for their students is “good enough,” or whether there will be an increasing expectation that they buy new technology to accommodate school learning.
All individuals participating in BYOD will complete an online registration form that details what devices they are bringing.
Students participating in the BYOD program complete a formal online registration where students and parents agree to the rules and regulations. The form is also used to register what devices students are connecting to the network. (Source:
All mobile devices will be brought to school fully-charged.
Expectations for student devices will mean that these are fully-charged prior to coming to school.

III. Technology Readiness
In this section, you have to ask yourself, have we made the necessary changes to the technology infrastructure so that BYOD--which primarily depends on wireless access, often doubling or tripling the amount of connected devices on networks to designed for less--will be successful?

Score Your Organization
Wireless access points are allocated in student learning spaces in proportion to student population.One or more wireless access points (WAP) that can support 20-25 connections each and provide coverage of all learning spaces with WiFi access.
Campus and district network has can support many wireless/WiFi devices.Sufficient bandwidth to accommodate the total number of possible connections, which may range from 20-25 users to triple that number per classroom or learning space..
Campus has multiple networks that allow for 1) private, secure information sharing and 2) public access to District resources.Campus has multiple networks that allow for district business and secure information for teachers/administrators, and one for students and outside users of the District’s web-based resources. (Source:
District Technology Department can “throttle” or adjust the WiFi being used by BYOD users to allow “normal” traffic through.The ability to limit levels of access depending on usage (e.g. too much YouTube EDU or video streaming).
Implement a content filtering solution for BYOD via WiFi based on student login/password.When first connecting to campus/district wireless, students enter their username and password to access the BYOD WiFi network. This may require purchase of additional equipment on the network backend to support student single sign-on (SSO).
Printing from any device to BYOD.You have wireless network printers that allow students to print from any device. BYOD printers are on the public network, not on the District’s internal private network.
Identify what devices will be supported, and which will not be.
Clearly define and communicate what devices students bring in will enjoy support on the District network, and which will not. For example, include smartphones (e.g. iOS and Android), Android tablets like Kindle Fire or Barnes and Noble Nook, Linux netbooks, Windows 7 Home Edition, Mac OS Snow Leopard and higher, but not Windows XP or Mac OSs like Panther or Tiger.
Students, their parents and teachers can access free anti-virus/ anti-malware software they can load on their mobile devices.Create a web site with easy downloadable anti-virus and anti-malware programs that students can install on netbooks, laptops, and/or smartphones. Students are also provided a  sticker certifying that the device is “ready for use on the District WiFi network.”
Technology support for student-owned devices has been determined and communicated.
Student-owned devices may have their own problems (e.g. viruses, malware) or come with equipment that just does not work. A letter with a standard disclaimer has been sent home--as well as displayed on the BYOD Support Web Site. The disclaimer states that the school is not responsible for any broken or stolen student devices (Source: )
Electrical power is sufficient to support 4x as many devices as the school currently has.
Mobile devices that are in constant use are power-hungry. Electrical infrastructure has been evaluated by third party sources to meet projected demand.
Ample locations to power devices exist in learning spaces.
All learning spaces have places where students and teachers can “plug in” to recharge their mobile devices. This may involve power strips/surge protectors scattered in various areas, as well as easy ways to supervise access.

How would you improve on this document? Make comments here on this blog entry and/or update the Community Edition of it!

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Nathan Mielke said...

Thanks Miguel, we're looking at BYOD/T in my new district. This helps me to start conversations about what we need to get in place specifically to ensure success. So much to do!


Nathan Mielke said...

Thanks Miguel,

In my new district we're looking on BYOD. Right now we are in the uber-early stages, so I don't yet know what a timeline looks like (plus I've only been there 80 hours). This rubric helps me to track that I have things in order as we move forward.

All the best,

Andrew Boatman said...

Hi Miguel,
Our district blocks shortened URL's I am interested in some of the links on this page and can not access them. Do you have a full link published somewhere?

Andrew Boatman said...

Hi Miguel,
Our district blocks the shorten URL's. I am unable to get to some of the websites you have referenced. Do you have these full links published elsewhere?

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