Bring your own device (BYOD): Top 10 tips for success

Chris Wiseman

Chris works for Capita Managed IT Solutions and is currently responsible for growing the UK education business. His breadth of experience and commercial knowledge of the education sector enables Chris to deliver solutions tailored to the individual needs of every customer.

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The bring your own device (BYOD) trend, where pupils bring their own tablets, smart phones or laptops to school, is already making its mark in the education sector.

However, it doesn’t have to be yet another technology dilemma; with careful planning and consideration schools can enjoy an efficient transition to BYOD. Here are the top ten tips to consider:

1. Keep an eye on costs

Budget restrictions are a continuous issue, particularly at a time when schools are being encouraged to do more for less, so consider the utilisation of existing technology within the school and the role it can play in BYOD.

2. Deploy single sign-on (SSO)

By allowing teachers and students to have the same username and password with any device, single sign-on helps achieve a seamless transition from one device to another whilst maintaining a consistent user experience. It is also essential for security.

3. Make every minute count

Reduce time spent uploading, downloading and synchronising files between devices by implementing technology that allows files to be opened on devices anywhere, and on any operating system.

4. Consider the interface and user experience

Delivering content and data to devices may be possible but it may not create a pleasant or productive user experience. By allowing device specific applications to have access to data and resources, the synergy between the user interface and device can be maximised.

5. Be e-safety aware

The safety and security of students is paramount, and it’s as much about individual behaviour as it is the technology. A school’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) should be updated to reflect the changes that BYOD brings, and users should be regularly educated about potential threats and how to avoid them.

6. Mitigate risks

A balance should be reached between the level of appropriate security and what is reasonable in terms of usability. When addressing data security risks consider the following: Mobile Device Management; virtual desktop; web filtering; encryption; passwords; and security of applications.

7. Think before you print

To enable students and teachers to print from any device, print management software is essential. It also helps schools save money by requiring less staff intervention and eliminating wastage.

8. Avoid the device dilemma

Interoperability is another key consideration. Not all devices are compatible, therefore it may be necessary to limit users to just one or two brands of devices.

9. Consider purchase schemes

The introduction of staff and parental purchase schemes can ensure BYOD is a viable option for all by removing potential cost barriers.

10. Ensure you’re insured

Consider the insurance implications of this new trend and ensure that existing policies reflect the changes that BYOD brings, particularly in relation to theft and damage.

Has your school adopted a BYOD model? Do you have any unique tips to share? Let us know below.

Photo credit: flickingerbrad

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