First principle: all IT devices, infrastructure, software are ultimately chosen and deployed for the benefit of students’ education.
Second principle: all IT should encourage efficiency and innovation
Third principle: all IT should be cost-effective in longevity, including maintenance costs
BYOD for staff
Probably not. mixing personal and professional can raise interestingly thorny issues about privacy (for example, we have tools that can examine devices on the network).
However, we may give staff a choice to use one of two or three different devices, based on the role they have and the area in which they work. For example:
- admin staff have desktops because they primarily work in the one location – but they could have the choice of a dockable laptop if they frequently work in other spaces (including home).
- some teaching staff will never see themselves wandering around the room, passing the slate device from one student to another, handwriting, etc. – but others might choose this sort of device over a traditional laptop
There are pros and cons involved in each choice – staff must accept this. While some staff may be given access to multiple devices based on curriculum need,
BYOD for students
Ultimately this is where financial constraints are leading. Preparation essential now for 2015 when the first BYOD devices will be on campus. Three main issues to plan ahead for:
- maintenance/ support on campus (including short-term replacement devices) and after hours
- Connectivity is the core element of successful IT provision for the imaginable future. It is the highest priority for capital expenditure to extend and beef up the existing network, to build in redundancy, and to provide proactive maintenance. With the existing DLink wireless network due for upgrade or replacement to begin in 2014/2015, we have the opportunity to move to the latest technology.
- Support staff currently spend most time supporting college-owned devices. While this will remain a priority for staff, the vast majority of support for students will be reduced to connectivity issues and simple troubleshooting. We would not see our staff providing detailed technical support for the BYO devices. This means that the current resource allocation – where most is assigned to helpdesk – should be shifted to the network and systems administration roles.
- Rather than allow open season, the College will provide a list of devices that will meet the educational IT requirements of the curriculum. The range should be cognisant of price / capacity to pay. We then need to choose one of the following options:
- parents source and buy devices (on the list) totally independently.
- parents buy devices (on the list) from a central (external) provider/ consortium engaged by the College.
Again, there are pros and cons of each. The first has the advantage of parents being able to source their own supplier and arrange maintenance/ warranty to their liking. However, the benefits of a collective approach to purchasing and maintenance, such as the second option allows, are lost.
We decided, as expected, on option 2, allowing us to constrain the types of devices considerably to those we could offer effective support to. We also were able to ensure devices brought to school were suitable, and to leverage best prices.