Bring-Your-Own-Device is one of the hottest tech trends in business, and now it's coming to school districts. Increasing numbers of schools are now looking to embrace the Internet, rather than locking it down, to improve their own operations as well as offering new teaching opportunities.
BYOD is relatively inexpensive to implement, and it can start bringing major benefits to your school: You'll get direct cost savings, as well as numerous areas where small optimizations can eventually add up to even more savings.
1 – Fewer Equipment Purchases
The first and most obvious reason to embrace B.Y.O.D at your school is undoubtedly what you'll save on hardware. When your teachers -or even your students- can simply use their own devices, brought in from home, that vastly reduces the need for your district to provide new computer hardware.
Obviously, on the student side, the benefits here will largely depend on the wealth of your district. You should be careful not to set policies that assume a student will be bringing a device. None the less, this will still greatly reduce hardware expenditures, and potentially eliminate any need to buy more devices for your staff.
2 – Go-Anywhere Database Access
From a productivity standpoint, one of the biggest benefits to BYOD is the flexibility it brings to your workforce. Grades can be updated as easily in the break room as from the teacher's classroom. Administrators can respond to emails, or even take VoIP calls, while going about their other business on-campus.
It frees your entire staff from the burden of being “tied” to a single desktop computer somewhere in the building. On a large campus, this could theoretically lead to hours of work-time being saved every week, just from cutting out unnecessary walks back to a computer.
3 – More Freedom For Teachers
It can specifically make life a lot easier for your teachers, during their classroom teaching to be able to use devices on the school WiFi network. Just as a few examples:
They can do attendance directly from the front of the classroom, or even potentially while walking around during the day's first exercise.
There is no student question that couldn't be quickly and easily answered with a Google search.
Many tablets include hardware -or inexpensive wires- that allow them to quickly broadcast their screen to a nearby projector or TV. So, an iPad with AirPlay (for example) could be directly used in teaching to the class.
Useful apps, programs, websites, or other materials can -in some cases- be pushed straight to your teachers' mobile devices.
You might be surprised, in fact, at how many creative ways your teachers will find to work it into their own classroom plans. And, of course, inventive teachers who find ways to involve their students are likely to see higher grades, which translate into higher state funding.
4 – Simplified Network Expansion
While not required for a BYOD network, most operations adopting WiFi use virtualized networks, such as the ADTRAN Bluesocket standard, which make future expansions far easier. Unlike the traditional “client / server” model of networking, which requires significant hardware investments for nearly any expansion, a decentralized virtualized network greatly simplifies the expansion process.
For a small school, a single Bluesocket access point might be the only hardware you need. If you want to expand, all you have to do is add a second access point. The “plug and play” capabilities of Bluesocket allow for rapid expansions and simple hardware installations that only take a few minutes.
As such, it's perfect for school districts which lack either the time or the on-site expertise necessary to manage a more complex network.
If you're looking towards BYOD, but unsure how to proceed, we can help! Hummingbird Networks has years of experience working with schools and colleges to craft the perfect WiFi network for their needs.