When schools in Alberta, Canada, began considering BYOD in the classroom, the organization Alberta Education
created a pilot program to study its effectiveness. In 2010, it launched an 18-month study with teams from 10 schools to see how widespread BYOD affected students and the education process.
At the end of the study, educators and analysts concluded that it enhanced student performance. Teachers reported that students who used their own devices were more engaged and invested in their own learning. And, because students were already familiar with the devices they were using, teachers didn’t have to spend time educating them on how to use the technology.
“A device owned by students and their parents/families is typically a device that the student is already using and has already customized with applications, software and organizational tools,” they reported in Bring Your Own Device: A guide for schools
. “The device becomes another tool in the learning repertoire of students.”
The BYOD practice is also extremely helpful for students with disabilities, who now can use their existing assistive technologies to access learning materials. And, since not all students learn the same way, there’s the added benefit of multiple forms of learning – some may study by reading a PDF, others by watching a video tutorial. File sharing through tools like Google docs or Dropbox can enhance collaboration and improve communication between students and teachers.