Last updated: 13.06.13

Schools 'must embrace BYOD trend'

Now that teachers are moving away from using more traditional methods of learning in class, it may be time for schools across the UK to welcome the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.

This is the opinion of Mark Pearce, director of channels and alliances for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at IT solutions provider Enterasys, who claimed in an article for Channel Pro that while schools and colleges usually try and prevent the use of devices in the classroom, they could actually be beneficial to learning.

Other digital tools are commonplace in educational facilities, such as tablets, e-textbooks and video clips, so his suggestions that student-owned gadgets may aid education could make some sense.

Mr Pearce further pointed to studies that have shown teachers who embrace changes in technology notice a positive impact on grades and learning outcomes.

"Schools and colleges that previously restricted BYOD are now realising that it can actually give them an educational advantage and in some cases a competitive edge," he explained.

Among the benefits the expert said BYOD could bring for institutions was the fact that it can result in increased productivity in the classroom, as lots of pupils use their own devices for research purposes.

BYOD also saves schools money in that they no longer have to splash out on technology, rather students can download e-books and access other online learning materials from their personal smartphone or tablet.

Furthermore, by using a learning management system - such as the Enable platform offered by Virtual College - pupils can look up training resources in their spare time and assessors can monitor their progress from wherever they are.

However, Mr Pearce also expressed his concerns about a lack of IT skills and knowledge in many institutions, claiming this can significantly inhibit the uptake of technology.

Consequently, he said it is up to IT resellers to help schools address the challenges associated with BYOD and this should be a primary goal for any company working in the education market.