Dealing with the issues raised with BYOD and how to include BYOD into school policies
As budgets become increasingly challenging, many schools are looking at staff and students bringing their own device into school to help with teaching and learning.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is common in many organisations who feel that it is wasteful to supply employees with an additional device when they already own a laptop or tablet.
For schools, this brings several challenges as senior leaders must ensure that they are not compromising safeguarding procedures if staff are using these devices in the classroom. A serious case review in South West England in 2012 highlighted that all staff need to ensure that the headteacher is aware and agrees to them using their personal device in school.
Staff need to ensure that using their device doesn’t compromise the safeguarding of children. Therefore, images should not be taken on a personal device as this needs to be done on a school owned camera or tablet and kept on the school network. In addition, many documents are saved onto cloud based services and staff need to follow data protection procedures.
It is important that schools have agreements in place that are read and signed. This could be part of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) or a separate BYOD agreement. Staff must sign this policy and it needs to include statements covering:
- No sensitive data is kept on the device or that any important information is encrypted.
- Log onto the device is done via a passcode or password (preferably two factor authentication)
- If the device is lost, the staff member will inform the headteacher as soon as possible.
- When a staff member leaves the school, they will ensure that all school information is removed from the device.
Many members of staff now use their personal smartphone to access school based emails as it is easier to do this than to log onto a computer. Therefore, it is important that the school has a wipe facility in place (in conjunction with its ICT Technical Services) so that if the device is lost, the school based emails can be erased from the device remotely.
Some schools are now allowing students to also use their own personal device in school to support them with their learning in the classroom. Schools that have developed this policy, usually implement a strategy beginning with the oldest students e.g. 6th form, KS4 and then look at phasing it in with younger students. Again, policies need to be updated such as the AUP and the school Wi-Fi infrastructure needs to ensure that pupils cannot access unsuitable content.
BYOD is a good option for schools who may not have the resources to update ICT hardware. However, it is important that policies and procedures are updated to ensure that they don’t compromise the safety of children and young people.
If you would like to share your thoughts or experiences of BYOD with fellow teachers, please use the comments section below.