The use of computers in every level of education continues to increase, and even the smallest primary school is likely to have a designated space for its IT equipment. With more schools taking advantage of the value for money software available to enhance learning, but with limited budgets restricting spending on hardware, it is inevitable that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) will compete with using an establishment’s equipment. When, according to a recent survey of 1,500 parents by Opinium found that the average ages of UK children owning a phone, a tablet and smartphone is 7, 8, and 10 respectively, it becomes an increasingly viable option.
The risks associated with BYOD are obviously higher in primary schools and need to be carefully managed through policies and protocol, but become less of an issue through the secondary, further and higher levels of education. If BYOD is right for your establishment, it is important that you are able to provide secure storage and charging facilities for devices.
The BYOD argument
Your finance department may be jumping for joy if you adopt a BYOD scheme at your establishment, but it could prove to be a false economy unless it is managed carefully. The advantages are obvious: users are more familiar with their own devices, so no time is wasted learning how to use them; resources can be diverted from technology procurement; students are more likely to continue their studies after hours; engagement can be enhanced. The disadvantages can be far-reaching and catastrophic. Your wireless network may need attention; your IT department will need to keep on top of the challenges BYOD creates; not all students may be in possession of their own device, so an alternative solution needs to be available if the use of a computer is a curriculum delivery requirement. BYOD presents a lack of control for IT security and maintenance.
The BYOD Solution
If BYOD is the way forward for your organisation, then it is paramount to put a strategy in place to manage it effectively. A BYOD policy is a must-have and make sure all the relevant stakeholders have an input into its creation. Look at accessibility, integration, implementation and security. Security includes network security; ensure your students can only gain access to the data they need; and device security; where will they store and charge their devices when not in use?
If BYOD looks more like a giant unopened can of worms to you, you will probably opt for the more expensive, but easier to control and manage option of having your own devices. Whether these are housed in a computing classroom, available in the library, or a mixture of both, you are probably going to need a few. If you decide to go for desk-top computers, your initial outlay will be higher as will the space required to house them. If you are concerned that the alternative laptops and tablets would go missing, you can stop worrying. Using innovative technology, you can now store, charge and deploy devices via secure lockers.
D-Tech International’s ComputeIT modular locker system can be tailored to your needs and with its steel chassis and doors is an extremely secure, centralised location to entrust with valuable ICT equipment, providing effective crime prevention as well as ICT management. The cabinets are temperature controlled to ensure all devices are kept cool during the charging process and can be linked to your ILS/LMS or supplied with its own database to manage access.
Don’t just take our word for it! The world-class research-led institution, the University of Sheffield, home to an award-winning library service, has been using D-Tech ComputeIT lockers since 2014. Read the full case study here.
If you’re not sure whether ComputeIT would work for your school, college or University, just give us a call on 01394 420077, and we will be happy to answer any questions.