Overview of Topic
As technology increases at an exponential rate in today's culture, schools are met with the responsibility of keeping up with that increase of technology. In the past years, there has been a major increase in school's attempts to bring technology to the students. What, at first, was an increase in school-owned equipment has shifted towards an increase in student-owned equipment. The philosophy named Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is the growing trend in education "where students bring a personally owned device to school for the purpose of learning. A personally owned device is any technology device brought into the school and owned by a student (or the student's family), staff, or guests" (Alberta Education, 2012). "Administrators in the Forsyth County, GA., schools say the districts Bring Your Own Device initiative, unveiled in spring 2010, has accelerated student learning more than would have been possible with a 1-to-1 computing program alone." (Flanigan, 2013). Students are able to use their devices to further study materials from class, find extra practice, keep in contact with the teacher, partake in formative assessments as dictated by the instructor, etc. This trend found its start in the work place as workers continued to bring in their own devices and work places began to realize the financial benefits of allowing workers to use their own devices as opposed to company-provided devices. As work places found the financial benefits exhibited from allowing workers the ability to use their own devices, so did schools. As this trend continues to grow in schools it is important for schools to understand what issues and benefits arise from allowing student-owned devices in the classes.

A Trend: Its Issues and Benefits
When discussing if an area of study is a trend or not it is useful to discuss the definition of a trend. Merriam-Webster gives some simple definitions of trend, "a way of behaving, proceeding; that is developing and becoming more common" and "something that is currently popular or fashionable". Teachers are constantly facing a changing atmosphere of the classroom. New ways to teach seem to pop up daily. Incorporating technology, by nature an ever-changing animal, has been a major part of education for years. In one article discussing the challenges for teachers to keep up with technology, the trend, or tendency, of technology is described as a "staggering pace of technological innovation." (Concordia Online, 2012) Given that technology is by nature trending, it makes sense that all areas involved with technology would be a trend as well. Most educators have felt the push for furthered use of technology in the classroom and, as has been the case the last few years, a push for the incorporation of students' personal devices as well.

In discussing schools' use of Bring Your Own Device as a trend, it is useful to look at some statistics that look into the changing American teenager. In a study performed in 2013, 78% of teens have a cell phone (Madden, Lenhart, Duggan, Cortesi, and Gasser, 2013). Of those teenagers, 47% own a Smartphone. That works out to 37% of teens in 2013 owning a Smartphone, compared to 23% from 2011. That change alone shows the tendency for an increase of internet capable devices in the pockets of students in today's classroom. One in four teens use their cell as their internet device most of the time compared to just 15% of adults (Madden, Lenhart, Duggan, Cortesi, and Gasser, 2013). In this same study, differing demographics or socioeconomic status had minor effects on students' access to internet via mobile devices. Of the teens ages 12-17, 74% had mobile access to the internet. The only noticeable differences were Hispanic (63%), parents with college education (81%), and parents whose income was less that 30,000 (66%). (Madden, Lenhart, Duggan, Cortesi, and Gasser, 2013). Given the increase in capable devices in the classroom, schools are allowed the opportunity to cut costs while still meeting students' technological needs by allowing devices to be used in instructional lessons. As this change continues to gain popularity in schools, it is important for teachers and administrators to take a better look into this policy and find ways that they can include this in their classrooms or schools.

Percentage change of adult ownership of devices through the yearsSource:
Percentage change of adult ownership of devices through the yearsSource:

Students at Johns Creek Elementary work on a math problem using a Nintendo DSi, a digital device that is popular among children there. Source: KJH Photography.
Students at Johns Creek Elementary work on a math problem using a Nintendo DSi, a digital device that is popular among children there. Source: KJH Photography.

Some of the top issues involved with bringing your own technology into the classroom that are commonly discussed are the distractions that a device can bring, bullying that can go on through technology or about students' lack of technology, and the affordability of technology for students to bring. Arguably, the biggest negative that teachers express about technology in the classroom is the obvious distractions that it creates. Students, who generally have these devices for personal non-academic reasons in the first place, continue to use the phones for non-academic purposes while in the classroom. Social media, gaming, music, or other inappropriate uses are all reasons teachers object to device use in the classroom. Further bullying is another issue brought up when discussing bringing your own technology into the classroom. Cyber-bullying is a new trend that teachers are having to deal with in today's classrooms. Allowing devices that cyber-bullies can use is one of the major concerns that teachers have when implementing BYOD. It also creates a completely new way to determine which students have the best and which students have the worst or those who have nothing at all. Another issue presented is the affordability issue for some families. Some students' families will not be able to purchase the latest up-to-date technology. In these circumstances, the school would have to provide acceptable devices to make it possible for all students to partake in the lessons whose use of technology is necessary.

While the issues seem daunting, the benefits give some idea of how powerful this procedure can be for classrooms in the future. Some of the major benefits include lowered cost for schools as they keep up with technology, students are able to have up-to-date technology, and this trend prepares students for what they will face after school. One of the biggest reasons that schools are pushing for this is the ability to give students the one-to-one technology-to-student ratio that helps student learning without having to break the bank to do so. Purchasing an up-to-date device for every student is impractical for most schools. Allowing students to bring in their own devices gets around this dilemma. Technology, as provided by schools, in the classroom is for the most part very quickly outdated. This fact is one of the hardest aspects of including technology in the classroom. Allowing students to bring in their own technology allows that burden to be placed onto families instead of the school, this concept a double-edged sword itself. The last benefit mentioned here is that this process of allowing students to bring in their own technology helps to prepare them for their future outside of school. Students should be given the opportunity to work with technology of their choosing to learn various skills; chiefly among them is the ability to use the technology responsibly. If teachers continue to imply that today's technology does not belong in learning that will be a major drawback on students' future learning. Teachers are being given this opportunity to teach students how to use tools available to them to learn for themselves.

A Final Thought
As the world continues to advance technologically, it is important for schools to advance the methods of teaching to keep up with these advances. Too often teachers do not teach a certain way because it is not the way they are used to or it is not the way they were taught growing up. Technology is a part of students' futures and needs to be a part of their present. A final look at the difference in students of today is evident in this next example.

"To put technological change into the perspective of (our current students) it is worth examining how old these students were when certain technologies were launched.

1998 Google (18 Years old)
2001 Wikipedia (15 years old)
2001 iPod (15 years old)
2003 My Space (13 years old)
2003 3G mobile phones (13 years old)
2004 Facebook (12 years old)
2005 YouTube (11 years old)

Our students have only ever known a world with Google, Wikipedia, Myspace/Facebook, and mobile phones with high speed Internet." (Swan Christian College, 2012) Teachers need to realize the difference in today's students and meet them where they are. Students in today's classrooms have known this technology literally their whole lives. It is time to use what they know to teach them what they don't.

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Alberta Education (2012) "Bring Your Own Device: A Guide for Schools". Retrieved from This guide for schools looking into the trend of bringing your own device into class and trying to decide whether or not to change over to this model. This guide gives examples of use, benefits, risks, and some strategies used in the BYOD classroom.

Concordia Online (2012). What is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and Why Should Teachers Care? Retrieved from This simple article went into the main pros and cons related to BYOD in education. This along with many other article gave some of the same sentiments when it comes to BYOD.

Flanigan, Robin. (2013) "Schools Set Boundaries for Use of Students' Digital Devices." Education Week Digital Directions. Retrieved from This article went into discussion of the issues apparent in BYOD programs and ways to get past these issues.

Hanover Research (2012). "Bring Your Own Device Initiatives". Retrieved from This report discusses challenges, reasons for and against, and implentation considerations for bringing students devices to school.

Madden, Lenhart, Duggan, Cortesi, and Gasser. (2013) Teens and Technology. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from This article showed the trend of cellphone and smartphone use among teens in the past few years. This article also goes into a comparison of device usage among teenagers compared to adults, also.

NSW Department of Education and Communities (2013) "Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in Schools 2013 Literature Review. Retrieve from This literature looked at the subject of BYOD and went into a broad review of a lot of the literature involved with BYOD at the time of its publication.

Peasgood, Sean (2015). "Bring Your Own Device: The Next Big Trend in Education." Cantech Letter. Retrieved from This article discusses BYOD as a trend to teaching with mobility.

Swan Christian College. (2012). Bring Your Own Device Program. Retrieved from This program was designed help contribute strategies and information in the delivery and development of Bring Your Own Device initiatives in schools.

"trend." 2016. Retrieved from