BYOD strategies in higher education: current knowledge, students’ perspectives, and challenges.

Alessandro Siani

Abstract


The use of mobile computing devices has become an integral part of virtually every aspect of our personal and professional life, and education is no exception to this paradigm. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies are becoming increasingly prevalent in teaching, learning and assessment across all age groups, however the evaluation of their relative effectiveness compared to traditional pedagogies is still a controversial matter.

Despite the vast number of reports attesting the successful integration of BYOD in higher education, it has been argued that a significant proportion of the studies on the topic are highly heterogeneous from both a theoretical and methodological standpoint.

While BYOD strategies have been put in place in an increasing number of educational institutions around the world, the extent of their implementation varies widely between (and in most cases within) different institutions. This observation highlights the critical importance of the development of a solid theoretical and practical framework to underpin the integration of BYOD in higher education.

The first part of this paper will aim to critically evaluate the state of the art of the literature on the efficacy of BYOD strategies in higher education, highlighting potential benefits and drawbacks. As a paradigmatic example of caveats arising from the use of BYOD in higher education, it has been argued that teaching and learning strategies based on the use of personal mobile computing devices may pose a significant risk to aggravate digital divide between students who have access to (and operational mastery of) such devices, and students who do not.

The critical evaluation of the advantages and pitfalls of BYOD will be used as a theoretical scaffold for the second part of the paper, which will outline the results of a recent case study to give a practical account of the implementation of BYOD in higher education. A survey was carried out within a cohort of level 4 Biology, Biochemistry, and Marine Biology students to investigate the students’ perception of the effectiveness of Nearpod as a formative assessment tool. While the majority (65%) of the participants had never used BYOD in an educational context before enrolling into university, the students’ account of its efficacy appears overwhelmingly positive. Most students expressed a clear preference for electronic formative assessment and commended its superior helpfulness compared to traditional methods. The vast majority of the participants (over 90%) did not perceive BYOD as potentially aggravating digital divide among their peers.


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