BYOD: Positive or Negative Factor?

BYOD Bring Your Own Device
To BYOD or Not to BYOD. That is the question.

Have you heard of BYOD? It stands for Bring Your Own Device to school.

Yes! We are now asking students to bring their iPads, iPhones, and other electronic devices into the classroom.

I guess we are supposed to be jumping up and down for joy over this. So why aren’t I joining the hip hip hooray bandwagon?

Electronic devices have their purpose in the learning process but there are pitfalls to this grand push for BYOD.

Here’s my take on it.

#1 Students Are Going To Get Dumber!

Are you old enough to remember the time when you had to multiply and divide without a calculator to work out a math problem? If so, good for you! I remember when I was in third grade and had to know my multiplication tables by heart. When I ask a middle school student in my classroom to multiply some figures, he or she takes out a calculator. Really? You need a calculator to multiply? How sad!

When I ask a middle school student to give me the definition of a word, he or she asks to use the computer to look it up on When I point to the dictionaries on the shelf, the student gives me a quizzical look. Children in middle school don’t know how to use a dictionary in book form.

Ladies and gentlemen! This is scary! You should be scared. Very scared.

Students are missing out on a pivotal part of growing up. It’s called “discovery.”

Had they used paper and pencil to figure out a mathematical problem, they would learn the thinking process involved in reaching the solution.

Had they used a dictionary in book form, they would discover other words a long the way. They would be expanding their vocabulary and reinforcing something basic like alphabetizing.

But now, they are miniature robots with electronic gadgets which hold all of the answers.


#2 Rich and Poor Will Be More Evident In the Classroom

The best way to divide the classroom is to ask students to bring their electronic devices to school. If you’re a parent, you know how difficult it is to deal with the never ending statement “But everyone else has one.” You know, buying the latest sneakers, latest watch, latest anything. Now you can add the latest tech gadget.

Just because a neighborhood looks “nice” doesn’t mean the family can afford the shiny gadgets that schools are asking students to bring into the classroom. There are some students who complain that they don’t have internet in the home, a working computer or even a printer. Now we want them to bring mobile electronic devices.

Some parents can’t afford to purchase a gadget for each child. Some parents can’t afford to purchase paper and pen. So you can imagine the humiliation some of the students must be going through when their classmates come to school with the latest gadget to use in the classroom.

Can we be anymore transparent in separating the rich from the poor?

I’m sure some of you might suggest that the students who can’t afford these gadgets borrow one from school.

Imagine yourself in middle school. That awkward time when you want to fit in and you stand out. Now imagine that your classmates have the latest gadgets and you have the one gadget that say “PROPERTY OF MIAMI DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS.” Really?

How embarrassing is that?

#3 Stolen and Lost Property on Campus will Increase

Yes, let’s face it. Little Bobby brings his shiny new electronic device and it gets stolen during lunch, physical education or any other time. This is a reality. ¬†As it is right now, I have students who tell me that their required novel has been stolen. Really? A novel that kids don’t even want to read in the first place stolen? Imagine what will happen to a nice shiny new gadget.

What about Forgetful Freddy?

You know, the kid who forgets his lunch in the classroom. The kid who forgets his books in the cafeteria. The kid who forgets to look under her seat to get the rest of her belongings. That kid!

Poor parent who must deal with an unhappy child and the idea of having to replace the lost or stolen property.

Of course, there’s the never ending competition with the Joneses. Kids will start comparing their gadgets.

“My phone is better than yours,” is something I hear kids say in the classroom and I don’t even allow them to use their gadgets in my classroom. Imagine when they have to use them.

As a teacher, I have seen enough to know that even if my work place doesn’t have these situations, it doesn’t mean that other schools don’t or won’t.

Is BYOD a good idea? Or a bad idea?

What suggestions do you have so that these three situations won’t happen in schools?

Leave your suggestions in the comment section.