What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

BYOD, also referred to as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), refers to the practice of people bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices with them to the learning or work environment. 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 implementing BYOD policies, the company has reported up to 5 million hours of annual productivity gains, a statistic that is compelling many other companies to consider BYOD. In schools, the BYOD movement addresses the same reality; many students are entering the classroom with their own devices, which they use to connect to the school’s network. While BYOD policies have been shown to reduce overall technology spending, they are gaining traction more so because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working. A 2013 Cisco Partner Network Study found that BYOD practices are becoming more common across industries, particularly in education; over 95% of educators surveyed responded that they use their own device for work purposes. Although administrators and educators have cited IT security concerns, technology gap issues, and platform neutrality as challenges to the uptake of this technology, a growing number of models in practice are paving the way for BYOD to enter the mainstream.

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

  • Funnily - this is still a hotly contested issue both in-school and in-museums. We did some further investigations here: http://musdigi.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/byod-in-education-and-museum-spaces/ and I have since done focus groups with teachers asking similar questions. There were mixed responses from teachers about the merits of each and I think we're no closer to a definitive answer. - lkelly lkelly Oct 23, 2014
  • A paper that addresses this topic specifically in relation to its debate in the Horizon Report: Wallis, Elycia. "Moving Oustide the Boundaries-How Museums can Engage Audiences beyond Their Walls." Paper presented at Museums and the Web Asia 2013, Hong Kong, December 8-12, 2013 http://mwa2013.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/moving-outside-the-boundaries-how-museums-can-engage-audiences-beyond-their-walls/ - nealstimler nealstimler Oct 30, 2014 Thanks, Neal! [- ewallis ewallis Oct 31, 2014]- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • I would also add to Lynda's comment that our educators still don't see many school groups arriving with devices. Our museum runs some programs where we provide devices or other technology to the students to use, but it's still relatively rare that schools bring their own. We are also interested to learn what visitors in our museum spaces are doing with their devices when they do get them out of their pockets - anecdotally #1 is taking photos, #2 is checking or posting to social media and #3 texting/voice calls. We are planning a few interventions to run in 2015 to see if we can find out more about what visitors are using their devices for and whether they're seeking further information about what they're seeing in the museum (e.g. checking wikipedia, googling a question, using our mobile version of collections online or digital labels). Watch this space. [- ewallis ewallis Oct 31, 2014]
  • I think we are closer to this taking hold in more museums and in classrooms, especially as visitors/learners have a variety of mobile devices that they alternate between for different purposes and conveniences. Just as the spaces for learning and communication are moving (due to learners) to becoming more porous and interconnected, making the educational experiences in museums more accessible (and not bound by a specific device) will be important. - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Nov 2, 2014- AHelmreich AHelmreich Nov 2, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • I agree with the comments above. I think that we need to really think about two things- opening up our ideas about devices, and creating really rich content that is really accessible to multiple audiences. Students in upper-income communities have more accessibility to newer devices and content. But even students in lower income areas still have access to multiple devices, in particular mobile and smart phones. I think that part of our conversation should be on how we as museum professionals and educators can really be more inclusive to developing and providing rich content to a wider range of communities (multi-institutional collaboration can help in this) - david david Nov 8, 2014David
  • Despite all the excitement about Wearable Technology, the BYOD is the overarching phenomenon. Museums continue to have the potential to tap into a range of personal devices to enhance the educational experiences they provide for visitors. Anyone who walks through a museum can't help but notice the plethora of personal activity involving personal devices of various kinds. - CReich CReich Nov 2, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • For non-school groups I think we're already in a BYOD situation that isn't always being leveraged. What we're seeing at the museum where I work is that almost everyone who walks in the door has a device with them. School groups is one area where this isn't happening-- many schools don't allow the use of phones on campus so more often than not most students arrive without devices. There seems to be the start of a shift in schools-- tablets are showing up more and more, and we're now seeing schools easing up on phone bans. - jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014

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

  • I think we're moving towrads CYOD - Choose Your Own Device - a mixture of provided devices and visitors/students using their own if they want. - lkelly lkelly Oct 23, 2014 We came to the same notion in our museum - shazan shazan Oct 31, 2014 CYOD is an apt phrase for what many museums are doing.- Merete.Sanderhoff Merete.Sanderhoff Nov 3, 2014 Agree that CYOD is apt, perhaps a way for our organizations to avoid contributing to the alienation and exclusion threats of the digital divide. - dhegley dhegley Nov 3, 2014 I agree, providing options at this point really seems like the way to go. I think things have shifted over the last few years-- we launched an app a couple of years ago and purchased a fair number of tablets with the idea that many people might need them and then found that the vast, vast majority were showing up with their own devices. The app is now available for phones and the overwhelming majority of people use their own devices, but there are still folks who end up, either because they don't have their own device or because they would rather not download the app, to use one of our tablets or iPod touches - jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014 Agree - david david Nov 8, 2014Davus
  • The bigger issue IMV is that we need to make good decisions about the platforms that we build digital interps on as they must spread across a range of devices - responsive design might be the answer here - lkelly lkelly Oct 23, 2014
  • As an IT Administrator in a smaller museum, BYOD makes sense from a financial point of view. My museum does not have a large number of staff to maintain or rent devices. Nor do we have a great deal of capital to purchase a fleet of mobile devices for the galleries. I have been approached by a number of audio tour companies that use a traditional hand held wands and the same concern always comes up; the hardest part of a mobile device in the gallery is creating good content. I can only conjecture that people who use their own devices have a higher level of knowledge about how the device works. And if museum content is placed on common software platforms, there is greater understanding of how the program works. - rstriojr rstriojr Oct 23, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • This category now in many respects blends with concerns about Wearable Technology. Mobile and responsive web design as the base valuable as pointed out by Lynda Kelly. - nealstimler nealstimler Oct 30, 2014 Agreed that BYOD and wearable technology will increasingly be a continuum. Also lots of crossover in BYOD and apps as a content delivery platform, and this also brings in discussions about apps vs responsive browser based sites. [- ewallis ewallis Oct 31, 2014]
  • Coworking in museum spaces! A part of BYOD, we tried a coworking at the Met. Creating work in a museum/working in a museum was an excellent use of space, and a lot of our attendees hadn't been to the museum in awhile. (Although now, they don't allow you to use the plugs in the museum, so no more coworking sessions...but it was an interesting idea at the time) - Jenoleniczak Jenoleniczak Oct 30, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • BYOD as a vehicle for visitor in-gallery interpretation is a given in my book; that doesn't mean we're using it as well as we might but the visitor is carrying personal tech and expects to use it. What's missing is discussion about use in the work environment. Where's the Intel of the museum community? - rdowden rdowden Nov 5, 2014

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

  • I like the term CYOD that Ikelly used above and feel that as we are a 'between' stage this is probably the best way forward - its basically the same content pumped in through the hand held devices and over personal smartphone delivery. - shazan shazan Oct 31, 2014
  • For interpretation, there's a benefit in onsite - online. That is, providing visitors with more information while they're onsite that they can then investigate further after their visit. Museums have tried various ways to encourage this. This could also apply to education visits - spend your time looking at the 'real' thing but tag things for later research. [- ewallis ewallis Oct 31, 2014] - jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014
  • I think this points to ways in which content can exist on multiple platforms and easily accessible to different learners. - marsha.semmel marsha.semmel Nov 2, 2014
  • We design all of our digital interfaces to be accessible on BYOD; however, we do our best to ensure that visitors who do not own such a device are not excluded from specific layers of content and/or engagement. As museums we are in a delicate balancing act between delivering to a significant audience segment who expect to live on their phones, and at the same time remain accessible to everyone. Let's tread carefully. - dhegley dhegley Nov 3, 2014 Agreed! - jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014
  • For museums there are real attractions in BYOD-- as rstriojr noted above, many museums just don't have the resources to purchase and maintain devices, so being able to add layers of interpretation without the additional layer of maintenance seems like a perfect scenario. But I agree with Doug that it is a balancing act-- even as mobile access (be it phone or tablet) appears ubiquitous, it isn't entirely, so making sure that we aren't unintentionally excluding anyone is important. - jfoley jfoley Nov 5, 2014
  • I like what jfoley says. as well as dhegley. I think that another benefit is that this technology provides other opportunities for user-generated content that can really expand on a specific collection/exhibition, especially in cultural museums. Some early examples of this kind of user-generated exhibitions that really impressed me (and continue to do so) are DigiCULT (http://www.digicult.info/pages/index.php) and the Nexhibition project (http://sourceforge.net/projects/nexhibition/files/Nexhibition%20Joomla!%20Component/) done by Ray Shah's Think Technology. I also saw a really engaging demo done a long time ago by the Smithsonian using ThinkMap's Visual Thesaurus (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/). The exhibit was about toys from the early part of the last century and put everything in cultural, political, industrial and economic contexts. - david david Nov 8, 2014David

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

  • Coworking at the Met through Meetup.com - Jenoleniczak Jenoleniczak Oct 30, 2014
  • We now offer traditional wand audio guides as well as online versions of the same content - this means wifi access in the galleries as international visitors find roaming fees too expensive plus a mild sprinkling of QR codes around the galleries. - shazan shazan Oct 31, 2014
  • A number of children's museums, in particular, are experimenting with helping visitors tag sites that can extend the educational value of a visit--connecting with parents and caregivers while their children "play" to use their cell phones to find information and fun activities to extend the experience back at home. - CReich CReich Nov 2, 2014

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