Three Fears Keeping Schools from Implementing BYOD Programs


Educators from across the country are continuing to recognize the distinct advantages of moving towards integrating mobile learning into their schools. In July 2014, the Washington Post reported that the school district in Montgomery County, Maryland announced that they were purchasing 40,000 laptops and tablets for their students with the intention of expanding to over 100,000 by 2017-2018. As one of the top ranked school systems in the nation, Montgomery County is helping to lead the charge into the next generation of education with technology as an integral part of its strategy to better prepare students for the real world. Teachers recognize that teaching and growing an interest for students in technology is key for their future success.

This move to embrace the value that mobile learning through a Bring Your Own Device program offers is not without its concerns for administrators. In listening to school administrators and IT directors, their reservations to bringing a full fledged mobile learning program into their school can be summarised to these three main issues:

1. Securing the Devices from Hacking

Before providing students full access to all the information that the Internet has to offer, administrators need to put protections in place to keep control over the devices. For better or worse, kids today have shown themselves to be experts at skirting around security barriers like was seen in 2013 in a BYOD program in Los Angeles. While no system can ever be 100% foolproof, a good system needs to be put in place that is being constantly tested and upgraded to guard against new hacks. It is also critical that the security for the device cannot be disabled by simply restoring the factory resets or other methods of wiping.

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2. Misuse for Inappropriate Content

Giving students the scope and reach of the Internet for research during class can be a powerful way of promoting more effective learning. Unfortunately, mixed in with all of the positive material that is available for educational purposes is a endless amount of material that can be considered age inappropriate at best. Especially at younger ages, students need extra guidance and protections in place to keep them from being exposed to what can be harmful materials. Another important consideration is the expectation held by parents to take responsibility for what their children are being exposed to, putting additional pressure on administrators to block content on devices that are incorporated by the school districts.

3. Distraction from Educators

While having access to the Internet and learning apps at their fingertips can be a huge boost to the education experience, it can also prove to be a significant distraction to both students and teachers in the classroom. In order to feel confident in introducing a BYOB program into their learning space, educators need to be assured that their students will be using the devices as a part of the class structure and not off playing games or scrolling through Facebook.

NetSpark Mobile Provides Essential Solutions for BYOD in Education

These are very legitimate concerns facing education administrators, and thankfully NetSpark Mobile offers solutions for implementing a BYOD program that fully address these issues. The software is constantly being tested for backdoor hacks to keep the devices secure and in control of educators. Calling on some of the most capable hackers and security experts in the field, NetSpark Mobile stands behind its ability to keep the software operating as intended. We understand that like in real life, content on the Internet is neither black or white. While explicit websites can be automatically blocked as a part of a blacklist, NetSpark Mobile’s advanced quilting technology works to exclude specifically harmful content on web pages in real-time. This means that by not just blocking any suspicious URLs, students can access more content without risking exposure to images or other material deemed to be inappropriate. With easy to use network management, administrators can decide which content blocking standards are right on a class by class or even individual level, allowing more freedom for older students and staff. Finally, through the remote management system administrators can block access to specific apps or even full access to the Internet during the school day to keep students focused on learning.

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Integrating mobile devices into the learning process can give educators a new range of tools that were never previously available. Finding the right solution to working through the integration is an important part of addressing concerns and knowing that it is being done securely. Discover today how NetSpark Mobile can help bring your school into the next generation with complete tools and expert advice.