What is BYOD?

The term BYOD, which stands for “Bring Your Own Device,” refers to the practice of learners and patrons bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices with them to an institution. Intel coined the term in 2009, when the company observed that an increasing number of its employees were using their own devices and connecting them to the corporate network. Since then, this type of activity has become commonplace in workplaces all over the globe. The BYOD movement in education institutions is being driven by a major challenge that many institutions face — a lack of funds to support one-to-one learning, which is a systemic solution in which every student is provided a laptop or mobile device that can be used to support learning in and outside of the classroom. BYOD makes one-to-one easier by simply leveraging the devices that learners already have, or those their parents could buy for them. In practice, it has proven important to provide funds to support families in financial need, and to standardize on a small set of devices and software packages. Often the school will negotiate advantageous pricing for families to reduce their costs. In early studies, the act of a student using his or her own device for learning has proven to increase productivity and engagement. Tablet computing has accelerated the pace of BYOD, especially in schools, where these smaller, less-expensive devices are seen as a better option than traditional laptops. With their ever-growing capabilities, tablets (which now include an expanding set of choices, such as the iPad, Galaxy, Nexus, and Surface), are well positioned for BYOD environments.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - holly holly Aug 13, 2013BYOD + Internet of Things = Three way communication between collections>museum staff>visitors At last the sum is greater than all of the parts. - nhoneysett nhoneysett Aug 15, 2013 - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Aug 20, 2013
  • Users retain content on their devices wherever they are, extending the museum experience. - ssbautista ssbautista Aug 22, 2013 Yes, allowing visitors to keep the content on their device is so important for many mobile interpretation and learning experiences in museums -- and encouraging visitors/users to engage with the content before, during, and after their museum visit is important for them to see the value of this type of approach. - murawski27 murawski27 Aug 24, 2013 - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Aug 25, 2013 - JohnS JohnS Aug 26, 2013- scottsayre scottsayre Aug 26, 2013
  • I really think that there is so much potential with BYOD, especially as more and more visitors have mobile devices (whether smart phones or tablets) and bring them to museums. If a museum visitor wants to learn more about something they see in the museum, they seem much more likely to access that content right then and there and at their own pace (and not need to go and check out a museum device like an iPod or iPad, which also means they often need to hand over a drivers license or swipe a credit card). Just like going to a BYOB party, BYOD means you get more of what you want (right?). BYOD means that the type of the device you are using to access the museum's content is the one you are most comfortable using, not just the slick iPad the museum got the grant to purchase in bulk. If you hate the iPad but love your Samsung tablet, you can use that. Of course, this all depends upon the museum creating content that can be accessible from multiple mobile platforms/devices and widely communicating this option, which does not seem super common in my own experiences with museums. For me, the best cross-device experience I've had is with the Rijksmuseum and their online collection, which I enjoy exploring from any device - murawski27 murawski27 Aug 24, 2013
(- jfoley jfoley Aug 26, 2013) Visitors are able to hold on to, and potentially customize, their museum experience, their path, the content. Being allowed to return to their own experience later, as it is on their own device.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - holly holly Aug 13, 2013museums need to see BYOD as an opportunity (long absent from the community) to focus more on the content and delivery and less on the technology.
  • - murawski27 murawski27 Aug 24, 2013 I very much agree -- BYOD is a major opportunity for museums to spend their time thinking about the content and the learning experience. We need to begin 'training' museum visitors to bring their mobile devices to museums, instead of expecting an Acoustiguide listening device or iPod/iPad.
  • - nhoneysett nhoneysett Aug 15, 2013 Agreed, museums are not good at hardware support, so this does allow them to focus on the content, however it does means they have to get into the free-wifi business, which if they're smart is a great sponsorship opportunity. - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Aug 25, 2013
  • - murawski27 murawski27 Aug 24, 2013 Good to bring up to Wi-Fi issue, which is very challenging and expensive for some museums with thick stone walls or underground cavernous spaces. The cost of getting reliable Wi-Fi in the entire floorplan of a museum can be significantly more than purchasing dozens of cutting edge tablet devices each year.
  • Agreed, it is a huge opportunity to raise content standards, create a stronger argument for institutional wifi and lessen excuses based on hardware provision/lack of it. - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Aug 20, 2013
  • Wifi will be a challenge for many museums, as well as the fact that BYOD places a disadvantage on older visitors and those without smart devices. - ssbautista ssbautista Aug 22, 2013
  • The focus here seems to be on BYOD with visitors/users, but BYOD has a huge impact on staff-focused technology as well. BYOD means that IT ecosystems are necessarily less locked-down than in the past, relying more heavily on web-based technologies, which enables more fluid collaboration amongst staff and non-staff actors. - koven.smith koven.smith Aug 23, 2013
  • (- jfoley jfoley Aug 26, 2013) Agree that BYOD can push museums to focus more on content. Wifi is an (expensive) issue for any institution, however, it is also the direction that the world is moving. Visitors expect to have wifi access everywhere they go. I think that before long having working wifi available will be seen as no different from having the lights on.
  • Responsive design is key to making web-based content flexible enough to work on a wide range of devices, not just one platform or form factor.- scottsayre scottsayre Aug 26, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • - nhoneysett nhoneysett Aug 15, 2013 I long for the day when we don't have a battle for those three sentences of wall text but provide rich layered contextual and interpretive content through mobile devices. Everyone gets to deliver as much content as they want. - alex alex Aug 18, 2013 - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Aug 20, 2013 - murawski27 murawski27 Aug 24, 2013 - JohnS JohnS Aug 26, 2013 (- jfoley jfoley Aug 26, 2013)
  • - don.undeen don.undeen Aug 25, 2013 the above opportunity also brings a new challenge: focus and concision. When we really can deliver "all the content we want," there's a risk that we'll do exactly that. Those three sentences of wall text had to be JUST right, and took a lot of consideration. An "infinite" amount of digital label-space is intimidating and confusing if we're not also delivering the right amount of the right content to the right person at the right time.
  • Seamless, real-time communication with visitors for content delivery and two-way participation. - ssbautista ssbautista Aug 22, 2013
  • - murawski27 murawski27 Aug 24, 2013 I also like BYOD since it means that visitors are using the same devices to access content as they are to connect with their social media, photo apps, and other sources of information. While our curators cringe then they hear this, museum visitors seem to be using sites like Wikipedia a lot to quickly learn more about an artist or object on view. The visitor's technology-based experience seems more connected if they can access both museum-developed and non-museum-developed content on their own device, share seamlessly between the two, etc. (- jfoley jfoley Aug 26, 2013) Agreed!
  • BYOD is one more important step towards museums providing a universal continuity of experience inside and out and ultimately between institutions. Tools such as those included in MOMA's new mobile guide (which is not BYOD) show the promise of all museums providing a universal tool that allows visitors to monitor, cross-reference and manage their museum experiences across institutions worldwide.- scottsayre scottsayre Aug 26, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • A lot of mobile apps developed by museums rely on a BYOD philosophy. I (somewhat) sheepishly mention Denver Art Museum's own DAM_SCOUT app, which depends on visitors bringing their own devices to the building: http://www.denverartmuseum.org/see-do-dam/dam-scout - koven.smith koven.smith Aug 23, 2013
  • IMLS funded an interesting project involving the Children's Museum of Houston and other science centers to serve as curators for existing relevant apps that visitors can access on their own Ipads (or on the museum's)--linking the museum's content, experiences, and curatorial expertise with already-existing applications. Museum need not always invent its own stuff. - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Aug 25, 2013
  • North Highland museum Timespan has a mobile app Museum Without Walls which tells the story of the Highland Clearances through an interactive trail across the historic landscape - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Aug 26, 2013
  • ((- jfoley jfoley Aug 26, 2013) I think there are a lot of museums moving in this direction. I (also sheepishly) mention ArtLens at the Cleveland Museum of Art. We are providing iPads for folks who don't have them, but it was designed with an audience who is bringing their own device in mind. We're currently in the midst of developing a smart phone version of the app which will depend entirely on visitors bringing their own devices.
  • Walker Art Center's Art on Call and Sculpture Garden Tour- scottsayre scottsayre Aug 26, 2013

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