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“Bring Your Own Device” Policies?

Some folks on my campus lately have been discussing the merits of adopting a “bring your own device” policy for students in the classroom.

As I understand it, this kind of policy had its start in the business world, but is now starting to make inroads in education. Essentially, rather than equip everyone with the exact same hardware and software, an organization allows people to bring their own to access the network and to get their work done.

I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I’d like to see more student use of laptops (and/or mobile devices like smartphones and tablets) in the classroom. On the other hand, I know that not all of our students can afford their own laptops (or smartphones or tablets) and would be at a disadvantage compared to the students who can.

It would be possible to add an additional technology fee for students to pay and to use that money to fund the purchase of such devices, but that’s just more money out of pocket for students who are already financially strapped.

This is where I’m interested in hearing from others. What kind of policy does your campus have? Are students required to have a laptop? If so, how do they pay for it? (Out of pocket? Deep discount campus purchase? Rolled into their student fees?)

Please share in the comments!

[Creative Commons-licensed flickr photo by Personeelsnet]

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