BYOD in universities – delivering a digital experience for students

Whether they’re posting holiday snaps on Instagram or scrolling through Twitter and Facebook for the latest news, it’s no secret that both millennials and Generation Z are very rarely without a phone in their hands.

With the boom in app-dating that can be seen through the success of brands like Bumble and Tinder, organisations are starting to cotton onto how they can capitalise on this.

The latest example comes from Canvas – a start-up that wants all job interviews to begin via text message.

With a report revealing that over a quarter (29%) of Gen Xers prefer business communication to be done via their phones – meaning recruiters could struggle to rely solely on telephone conversations – Canvas successfully identified an opportunity that aligns with the habits of a young generation influenced by technology.

This generation are digital natives who accept their future is to be driven by technology.

Because of this, it is not only businesses that should be looking at how to bring the digital experience to next generation. The education environment needs a refresh in order to maintain its place as a centre for knowledge, stimulator of ideas and supporter of the next generation on their path to adulthood.

Bring your own device

Bring your own device (BYOD) is one way of doing just this.

The increasing BYOD to universities is rapidly changing the way that both student and educator work and communicate with one another.

Despite this, there are a couple of important considerations that come with it:

Firstly, we need to ensure that when personal technology is introduced into the learning environment, it’s being used in a way that’s effective at delivering the concept we’re trying to teach, and gives students the opportunity to problem-solve with a measurable outcome.

Secondly, inequality in the education system is still a very real issue, and working with industry to ensure all students have equal access to the technology that will allow them to compete in a digital landscape – especially if it’s not readily available at home – is hugely important to that.

With the growth of BYOD, new decisions have to be considered.

Although the choice of what devices to offer students and educators remains important, it is investment in back-office infrastructure that can have the most significant impact.

The security implications of BYOD

As students and educators alike now value the ability to work anywhere and at any time, the proliferation of devices within educational institutions must go hand-in-hand with a complete awareness of cyber-security in the education system.

With the average size of a UK university around the 15,000 mark, universities need to be thinking about how they can refresh their networks to offer educators and students improved network access capabilities and flexibility.

After all, devices on the network often have limited protection, opening the wider university up to a potential attack.

As the canvas of digital learning continues to expand, technologies like the internet of things (IoT), BYOD initiatives and the influence of social media are becoming part of daily learning life.

Because of this universities need to be at the forefront of the battle for the online safety of their students.

From social media to online bullying and cyber-crime, education around our digital selves and how to protect them is now a must-have, not a nice-to-have. It must coexist with a technologically driven education.

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