The new dimension - Bring Your Own App

Julia Sharman

Julia has over 30 years’ experience working in the education sector as a specialist and advisory teacher for SEND and mental health. Previously a Local Authority Coordinator leading on educational projects and community learning in the public, private and voluntary sectors and freelance writer. She is a specialist teacher for children with dyslexia and an Advisory Teacher for children with mental health issues and medical and health needs.

Follow @JuliaSharman1

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Just as we’re getting our heads around ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and their usage in schools and in the workplace, there’s a new trend on the block - now it’s about Bring Your Own Application (BYOA).

With the availability of thousands of ‘applications’ (apps) for free, or at exceptionally low cost, BYOA is gaining momentum and users are choosing apps which are easily accessible and best suited to their needs.

The likelihood is that individually preferred apps will drive the way forward as using your own device for education and work purposes has. Fundamentally, an increasingly mobile student cohort or workforce are able to connect to the school or business network from their own laptops, smartphones or tablets enabling them to study and work from remote locations.

What is an app?

An ‘application’ or ‘app’, simply put, is a software programme, such as Microsoft Word, Google or Internet Explorer, that does something typically for communication, research, data storage, entertainment or business. Apps run on a web browser or via the cloud on wireless mobile devices such as mobile phones or tablet computers:

  • Web apps can be a more efficient and cost effective way of using software without having to buy a software license or having to install it on a network server. Simply go on-line and sign up. There may be a monthly fee so that license fees don’t have to be paid in advance.
  • Mobile apps extend the reach and enable users to perform all sorts of educational, business or entertainment functions while out of the main network reach and in remote locations.

What's causing the app revolution?

Mobile app stores, cloud-based consumer apps and social media are the main factors that are driving the demand and usage forwards. J. Pedro (2013) describes these factors;

  • ‘Mobile app stores enable consumers to select applications from the thousands available. The focus of IT developers for the mobile environment has moved to building consumer applications that best suit their needs.
  • Cloud-based consumer apps are defined simply by the benefits they offer: cost-saving, scalability and anytime-anywhere availability.
  • Social media is, for most, an integral part of everyday life. Apps such as YouTube are used widely in educational settings and in the workplace.’

For some, the range of apps is still ambiguous. Usually easy to find and install, apps range in size and complexity allowing individuals, groups, educational establishments and businesses to use those specific to their needs and wants. The Internet, Intranet and e-mail access will be a top priority for most users and for many music and games.

For schools and businesses there are now huge amounts of digital availability and content, that has consequently resulted in the need to find ways to store and access data in the most cost-effective and secure way. Many are turning to the cloud for on-demand services or apps that allow users to process, store, distribute, and retrieve large amounts of data. This of course also helps free-up network bandwidth and increase network performance.

What security risks are involved?

On-demand services or apps are not without risk. Database protection is something every establishment needs to look at, particularly against a SQL (Structure Query Language) injection attack where attackers deceive the database with a hoax identity. Other than security risks and the downloading of apps with inappropriate content, bear in mind there is also the risk that by copying sensitive or business data to a public cloud provider’s server, staff may be breaching data protection laws presiding over areas where certain information can be stored. Be sure to check this out thoroughly beforehand.

To deal with these and other issues, ‘Acceptable use policies’ (AUP) are being introduced to establish governance and acceptable use standards that stipulate requirements that must be followed for BYOA. These policies are also sometimes referred to as ‘Consumerisation policies’ and ‘Responsible use policies’. Standardised and acceptable apps should be part of any policy put into place.

In essence, BYOA is still at an embryonic stage, and so the associated risks are perhaps more prevalent; its benefits, however, will be indicative of a more efficient and productive learning environment, for keeping up to date with technological advancement, collaborative study and data storage.

Photo credit: ashkyd

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now
Login

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"