BYOD: Resources for Making it Happen

This page includes a variety of ideas and suggestions for making a bring your own device (BYOD) program work at your school. Some of this material was assembled by a group of teachers and tech trainers in our school district as a summer project. Since most of our BYOD resources lie behind the district firewall, I’ve included that material here directly.

A growing collection of additional articles and resources can be found in my Delicious feed. And if you have something you believe should be included here, please add a comment in the space below.

Why BYOD (and why not)?

One-to-One 2.0 – A free book about BYOD by Converge Magazine, in pdf format.

7 Myths About BYOD Debunked – A good look at why some of the challenges to BYOD (see the last link in this section) may not be valid.

BYOD in the News – A story about BYOD in Forsyth County School District outside Atlanta as reported on NBC’s Nightly News program.

BYOD at Carson Middle School – Video report about the program in a middle school in Fairfax County, Virginia.

BYOD-Worst Idea of the 21st Century? – Gary Stager offers some contrarian thinking and brings up some potentially negative aspects of BYOD that need to be considered. You’ll find other voices that don’t like the concept.

Best Practices for Teachers

Some teachers are nervous about having many unfamiliar devices in the hands – and under the control – of students. Here are some suggestions for managing BYOD in a classroom.

  • Help students understand how their personal device can be a tool for their own learning. Consider providing some time for students to better understand how their personal device can help organize their progress on assignments and projects, keep track of due dates, or access digital tools. Include the use of personal devices as a supplement to existing school resources such as dictionaries and other reference materials, calculators, voice recorders, and cameras.
  • Allow students to choose when the use of their device would add value to the assigned task or classroom activity. Teachers do not need to plan for the use of student devices in the classroom every day.
  • Create a positive environment by setting clear expectations about the use of devices in the classroom. Use signs posted outside the classroom to indicate whether student devices will be used that day. Develop a management strategy that will let students know when they can use their own devices during the class. For example, when the teacher is on the stage (in front of the class talking), the devices are off.
  • In our system we use the Blackboard learning management system but most learning management systems or just a simple website can be accessed by any device. Set up your class assignments and documents online to make it’s easier to distribute them. Blogs and wikis are also wonderful tools both for classroom management and to allow students to demonstrate their learning.
  • Google Apps for Education is a universal set of tools that all students can access on all devices to collaborate with others and complete assignments.
  • Not all applications run on multiple platforms. Students should not be required to download specific apps or applications or purchase specific apps or applications. If students know the format of the end product, they can choose the app or application that best works for them. Teachers are welcome to suggest free apps or applications to parents of our elementary and middle school students that will meet the requirements of a project, but it is not an expectation that students use specific tools to complete assignments.

Using Student Devices in the Classroom

Once kids begin bringing their laptops, tablets and smartphones to class, what can they and their teachers do with them?

Lots. Here are just a few ideas.

  • Access learning management systems or other websites teachers use for online distribution of classroom materials.
  • Access online textbooks
  • Access documents in Google Apps or other cloud-based applications
  • Keep organized
  • Manage daily agenda
  • Set reminders for long-term assignments
  • Build and practice vocabulary
  • Take notes
  • Study from their notes/flashcards
  • Read books and articles
  • Listen to books on line (with their own earbuds)
  • Use learning tools such as calculators, dictionary, thesaurus, stop watch
  • Conduct research
  • Look up current events
  • Capture and edit images and video
  • Document events
  • Record audio reminders and audio for school projects

Need more? There are many more ways to use BYOD in the classroom


  • Fact finding
  • Current events/weather
  • Reading newspapers
  • GIS (Geographical Information Systems)
  • Foreign web pages translated
  • Explore outside the classroom
  • Capture images
  • eBooks
Take Assessments

  • Practice standardized tests
  • Mastery projects
  • Visual testing
  • Homework
  • Surveys
  • Video and images for evidence of mastery
  • Exit Tickets
Access Curriculum Content

  • View Videos
  • Online Textbooks
  • Remediation
  • Direct contact with experts in the field
  • Educational use of online games
  • Self Study
  • Online interactives
  • Cross curriculum connections (STEM projects)
  • Data from probes
  • Meters
  • Thermometer and other environmental detection
  • Maps
  • Metronome and other music utilities
Receive Communications

  • QR Code
  • Suggestion box
  • Class blog
  • A class website or wiki
  • Peer/self assessment
  • Email reminders
  • School Announcements
  • Whole class sharing of information
Be Creative

  • Presentations
  • Publications
  • Spreadsheets
  • Avatars
  • Video creation
  • Image Editing
  • Narration
  • Virtual tours
  • Posters
  • Graphs
  • Timelines
  • Word clouds

  • Story writing
  • Research papers
  • Digital story
  • Blog
  • Journal
  • Wiki
  • Peer review
  • Yearbook

  • eBooks
  • Silent reading
  • Podcast
  • Audio books
  • Current event
  • Periodicals
  • Translate text
  • Read aloud text
Be Productive/Organize/Take Notes

  • Calendar
  • Reminders
  • Recording “notes” on white board
  • Image capture notes
  • Document service learning
  • Record audio/video
  • Interviews
  • Student electronic portfolio
  • Fitness/activity log
  • Personal behavior management tracking
  • Make up work
  • Document walking tours
  • Absent students continuity
  • Brain music
Build Vocabulary

  • Take pictures to illustrate meanings
  • Flash card apps or software
  • Video students explaining meaning

  • Wikis
  • Google Docs (chat window, comment stream)
  • VoiceThread
  • Today’s Meet
  • Edmodo

Managing a BYOD Program

How to Launch a Successful BYOD Program – A short post from KQED’s Mind/Shift blog with good advice to consider before starting down this path.

Introducing BYOD in a Middle School – This video was produced by staff at Irving Middle School to introduce parents and students to the concept of BYOD.

Introducing BYOD in a High School – Similar video from Marshall High School.

BYOD in an Elementary School – BYOD guidelines for parents and students at Colvin Run Elementary School:

Parent BYOD Responsibility/Agreement Forms – Written in multiple languages for schools in our district to use.

BYOD Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

BYOD tips for students