Saturday, 12 November 2011

BYOD does not necessarily mean only mobile phones

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a shorthand for the idea of having each student with a computing device - their own. The assumption of many writing about this is that the device will be a mobile phone. In 7 Myths About BYOD Debunked, Lisa Nielsen gives a pretty good account of why mobile phones can be the "D" in BYOD.
She phrases the two "myths" that I question in this way, but I think misses the point:
  • Myth No. 2: BYOD will result in lessons geared toward the weakest device.
  • Myth No. 6: Cell phones are not that powerful, so we should not waste our time with them.
Firstly, mobile phones ARE the weakest device. This is not to say that they always will be, or that they are not powerful, but in comparison with other "Ds" they are the weakest device. Two factors make them difficult to work with - the size of the display and the multitasking limitations. The first will not change until we have virtual displays appearning in front of our eyes. The second may be improved but it is related to the first problem.
So, if the option is ONLY mobile phone, then they can be the device. But if it is realistic to consider other options, from netbooks through i-Pads to laptops, then these other "Ds" win hands down.
For digital scholarship, involving extensive writing, researching and reading, the mobile phone does not hack it.
(For messaging, light e-mail, Twitter, G+, FB, everyday camera, recording audio, and even reading from i-Books in the dentist's waiting room, the smart phone is great)

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