“BYOD [Bring Your Own Device]…potentially allows school districts to cut [there] IT budgets, possibly helping the movement make inroads there, but BYOD…represents a particularly dangerous trend for multiple reasons” (Geller, 2013).
The philosophy of BYOD is very intriguing to many people. In this paper, I will answer three important ethical questions regarding BYOD in the classroom. Keep in mind that BYOD in the classroom refers to grades twelve and below. College level students are expected to have these devices to conduct their schoolwork and their individual institutions and teachers govern those students respectively.
Does BYOD Create an Uneven Playing Field in the Classroom?
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Will BYOD Increase Student’s Access and Willingness to Cheat?
“Information access, note-taking and communication (presenting, sharing, publishing) are the low-hanging fruit of education and represent the tiniest fraction of what it means to learn. Looking up the answers to someone else’s questions online in order to write an essay or make a PowerPoint presentation reinforces the status quo at best while failing to unlock for children the wondrous opportunities provided by computational thinking” (Stager, 2014).
Although many people would point to the access of instant information and other student’s work as proof that students would be more acceptable to cheat, I disagree. The only difference between BYOD and the current system is that BYOD allows access to materials while still in the classroom. This responsibility will lie with the teacher and the policy put into place, which the student will have to accept in order to access the school’s network. They shouldn’t have access to their devices during testing periods, or other activities that have to purpose using a device. To say the student will be more susceptible to plagiarism is to say they wouldn’t have plagiarized from their home device, which they are required to write their work from in the first place. Again, this onus will be on the teacher to ensure this doesn’t happen.
BYOD is a Risk for Both Parties Involved; What Expectations of Privacy
Should a Student Expect Accessing a Schools Private Network?
Just how private are personal photos, emails, calendars, etc.? If school network provider does not manage a student’s (or anyone who is allowed access) expectation, nor adequately discloses what it can and cannot do, students should have every reason to be concerned about their personal privacy.
So what exactly can a school do once given access to a student’s personal device? There is of course, a difference between what the school can and will do. Below is a list of what is possible (the actions will depend heavily on the school’s access agreement and software):
• Gain access to the device.
• Gain access to all phone records and contacts.
• Gain access to any social media or other account usernames and passwords.
• Monitor the GPS, providing location information.
• View the Internet browsing history of the device.
• View all pictures and videos stored on the device.
• View all personal emails sent and received from the device.
• View all chat and instant messaging histories.