What is so wrong about this phrase is that it suggests that all students have to do to achieve better in school is to bring a digital device (any type as well) and bingo, we've just found our next school dux. Hmm I don't recall John Hattie quoting such effective in his meta-analysis of what really raises student achievement, do you?
So without further, here are the reasons for my hating of the acronym "BYOD" and my suggested replacement. BTW if you're short of time, just scroll to the bottom of this rant to see my most ingenious substitute.
1.The introduction of devices means nothing, if done in isolation.
At the recent Future Education & Technology Conference, I heard one AKL principal note that "now we've got students bringing devices, we don't have to worry so much about addressing teacher capacity in the classroom"! If a student previously wrote down boardwork using pen & paper and now types down the same content, arguably this student has gone backwards. The device is nothing more than an electronic typewriter and such action has no doubt taken up more time, time that could have been used for thinking, analysis and even collaboration in person and/or online.
2. Raising student achievement is always multi-faceted and never quickly addressed.
BYOD suggests that if a student uses a device in class and even better if it is their one ("your"), their academic outcomes will automatically and magically rise. I'd argue that BYOD will DECREASE student achievement unless there is base requirements of literacy, numeracy, digital competency and citizenship being addressed simultaneously, if not significantly in advance. Just because a student can excel in Minecraft or is at ease with the multitude of social media offerings does not necessarily correlate to student confidence in completing a Google Form for a Maths assessments or turning in via Google Classroom an oral assessment created using a combination of Google Slides, Screencastify and Google Drive.
3. The type of device (and consistency across students) does matters.
I started off this year with almost every student in my Senior English class having access to GAFE via a multitude of devices but predominantly smartphones. Although the phones were awesome (and still are) in terms of academic content consumption, they were despite my and my students' best efforts, limited in terms of formal academic outputs. They remain a perfect collaboration and access device but even across just iOS, android and one or two on Chrome, there were inconsistencies in terms of speed and connectivity. Once I was in the fortunate position of moving them all onto notebooks, the aforementioned issues ceased in terms of importance. The one "pain in the butt" that remained was the logon each period, my teacher Chromebook (7.5 seconds thank you very much) not withstanding. Even Orewa College a trendsetting school in New Zealand digital education, now recommends laptops for seniors and iPads for their juniors.
4. BYOD has almost become about cost-savings for schools rather increasing collaboration, creativity and independent thought and action.
One large Auckland school, upon noticing large "BYOD" student uptake, promptly removed four computer rooms. It is understandable to see why. If a school goes full GAFE, you don't need servers to the same extent, you don't need the Microsoft suite, you could conceivably even do away with your Exchange email server. Just think of the money now and in the future! My biggest fear is that the government will see an opportunity to trim IT financial support in schools, arguing that more can now be achieved with less. With the considerable cost for part of a student's supposedly "free" education now explicitly in the hands of that student's family, there must be a significant "profit" for the students concerned. BYOD can not just slightly improve their academic performances, it must dramatically change not only their academic fortunes but also the fortunes of their futures and that of their families. The Manaiakalani Pt England cluster is the classic example where the involved schools ensured right from the outset that if low-income families had to bear in some cases, significant financial impact, the students had to effectively be offered the opportunity for digital education and devices to change not only grades but also to change lives. How many other schools can genuinely say that that they have committed to and resourced their BYOD programmes to the extent that Tamaki College, Pt. England Primary and the other cluster schools have?
5. BYOD should be about LFP (Learning-focused Pedagogy)
A couple of nights ago, I participated in a fantastic #edchatnz twitter forum on modern learning environments (MLEs, another acronym sorry!). Very little of the discussion was on devices. As was the case before the digitising of education became pre-eminent, great teachers were already developing students who were connected, collaborative, creative, critical thinkers. Did BYOD change their existing teaching philosophy significantly? Not at all. What BYOD did do was to make their intended and pre-existing student-centred pedagogy a little easier to realise and expand. In an increasingly digital educational context, BYOD will make good teachers, good digital and connected teachers, and bad teachers, bad digital and bad connected teachers. Only a focus to modern pedagogy that increases student independence, thinking, input and outputs and (that may require the use of so-called BYOD devices) will see the significant transformations in student enjoyment, engagement and expansion (not just achievement) that we all so desperately want to see in our schools.
In closing, for the reasons above in my professional capacity I now rarely if ever use the acronym BYOD. PSD & LFP work just fine for me.