BYOD: Bring Your Own Dogma
Posted June 7, 2012on:
The last #edsg chat on Tuesday focused on whether BYOD (bring your own device) is feasible in Singapore schools.
I have ranted about BYOD before, so I shall not repeat what I said then.
The usual arguments against BYO surfaced during the chat: The distraction factor, the who-bears-the-cost factor, the mindset factor. (Hence my titling of this blog entry, Bring Your Own Dogma.)
The growing number of resources I have collected at Delicious address those and other factors better than I can. If you read only two, I recommend:
In the Singapore context, we also have the SSOE (School Standard Operating Environment) factor. Here is @lookang‘s perspective on SSOE. Bottom line: SSOE might be an administrator’s dream, but it can be a teacher’s nightmare.
One undesirable behaviour that emerges from a system like SSOE that provides so much is learned helplessness. If teachers are told to incorporate ICT, given technology to do it, and told how, what and when to do it, then an unhealthy dependency develops on the provider.
I like to think that if SSOE did not barge in, BYO schemes would have logically become a dominant species in our mostly affluent school system. Even our have-nots would have been provided for one way or other. We are that efficient.
The mindset might also have been quite different. It might have been “Let us use what we have to help ourselves the way we know best”.
I also like to think of SSOE as like telling people where and when to drive AND also providing all the cars, fuel, roads, traffic lights, etc.
BYO is like buying or leasing your own petrol or alternatively fueled car. You choose the vehicle you want and the fuel to use. You pay for both. You also pay to use the roads.
Then what of the SSOE-like or traditional IT support system? It maintains the roads and provides the fuel stops. It puts up the signs and polices the streets. It enables people to get where they need to go instead of getting in the way.
That said, SSOE is designed to shut out while BYO is designed to be open or inclusive. SSOE is about efficiency; BYO is about being effective.
But SSOE and BYO schemes do not have to be incompatible. Using the traffic analogy, SSOE should strictly be about the environment, not the end-user hardware. The latter should be the domain of BYOD.
Growing numbers of businesses that operate in the real world have gone BYO. When are schools going to catch up?