Challenges and Benefits of BYOD in Schools A Literature Review

April M. Rogers

Georgia Southern University

Fall Semester 2016



Allowing teachers and students to bring their own devices (BYOD) to school provides the best opportunity for public schools to create digital learning environments (Burns-Sardone, 2014). New technology is expensive and school budgets are tight. BYOD policies allow public schools to create digital environments without facing the costs associated with purchasing large numbers of expensive devices with school funds (Burns-Sardone, 2014). Also, schools are moving this direction because BYOD encourages student participation in the classroom. The current body of research identifies benefits, challenges, and suggests ways to address the challenges.

BYOD Benefits Word Cloud

What are the benefits?

Saving Money

1. Cost Savings - Schools work on tight budgets. Purchasing the latest technology is an expensive endeavor. Cost is an important factor for school systems to consider when deciding between BYOD or 1:1 technology policies.


2. Convenience - Students are comfortable using their own devices. Many of them bring them to school anyway. Why not take advantage of having them at school and use them?


3. Increased Productivity - Having more technology available for students and teachers to use can increase productivity.

Enhanced Curriculum

5. Enhanced Curriculum - Technology can enhance the curriculum that teachers teach. It is not intended to replace the teacher, but to enhance student learning.

Increased Student Motivation

6. Increased Student Motivation - Across multiple subject areas, Grant et al. noted that time on task for students was higher with the devices compared to traditional pen and paper lessons (2015). For example, students were more excited in math classes when using devices compared to the paper lessons (Grant et al., 2015).

Access to Learning Tools on the Web

7. Increased Access to Web Learning Tools and Current Technology Trends- Allowing students and teachers to bring their own devices to school provides multiple resources for access, communication, creation, submission of assignments, representation, collaboration, and even augmented reality tools (Song & Kong, 2017).

BYOD Challenges Word Cloud

What are the challenges?

Distracted Students

1. Distractions - Students may become distracted with their devices and engage in off-task behavior during class time. Multi-tasking with technology has been found to negatively affect academic performance (Wood et al., 2012) (Sana, Weston, & Cepeda, 2013).

Technical Issues

2. Technical and Security Challenges - School networks and wifi must be sufficient for a large amount of internet traffic with many different devices. This may require upgrades to networks. Also, there are many risks regarding data security and legal risks involved when student and teacher devices are connected to the school networks (Bednar, 2016).

Social Issues - Picture Credit from

3. Social Challenges - There are equity issues with BYOD. Not all students have resources for buying technology and bringing such devices to school. Is it fair for all students? What will schools to do make it equitable? Will they be able to purchase some devices for those students who do not have one to bring?

Teacher Perceptions

4. Personal Challenges - Teacher perceptions influence the effectiveness of BYOD. Many teachers worry that BYOD will make it easier for students to cheat (Imazeki, 2014). Screen shots and camera availability in smart phones can be useful tools in the classroom, but they can also make cheating much easier for students.

How will schools address these challenges?


Professional development for teachers is important for a successful BYOD program. Teachers need guidance and support to understand how to integrate a variety of different devices in their lessons (Kiger & Herro, 2015). Even with all the different types of devices, there are different brands and operating systems to understand. This is part of the professional learning that teachers need for proper integration in to curricula. Technology trends are rapidly changing. Teachers need professional development to help them keep current with the changing trends of media and its usage in schools (Kiger & Herro, 2015).


Parental support is crucial to a successful BYOD program. Allowing their child to bring expensive devices to use at school requires a strong level of trust.

The Current Study

The purpose of the current study is to answer the following research questions:

1. What are teachers' needs/desires regarding professional development for incorporating bring your own device (BYOD)?

2. What are the benefits and challenges of BYOD?

3. How do we address the challenges related to BYOD?


Bednar, J. (2016). Left to Their Own Devices. BusinessWest, 33(4), 30-37.

Burns-Sardone, N. (2014). Making the Case for BYOD Instruction in Teacher Education. Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology, 11, 191-201.

Grant, M., Tamim, S., Brown, D., Sweeney, J., Ferguson, F., & Jones, L. (2015). Teaching and Learning with Mobile Computing Devices: Case Study in K-12 Classrooms. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 59(4), 32-45. doi:10.1007/s11528-015-0869-3

Imazeki, J. (2014). Bring-Your-Own-Device: Turning Cell Phones into Forces for Good. Journal of Economic Education, 45(3), 240. doi:10.1080/00220485.2014.917898

Kiger, D., & Herro, D. (2015). Bring Your Own Device: Parental Guidance (PG) Suggested. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 59(5), 51-61. doi:10.1007/s11528-015-0891-5

Sana, F., Weston, T., & Cepeda, N. J. (2013, March). Laptop multi-tasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers. Computers & Education, 62, 24-31. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.10.003

Song, Y., & Kong, S. C. (2017). Affordances and constraints of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for learning and teaching in higher education: Teachers' perspectives. The Internet and Higher Education, 32, 39-46. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2016.08.004

Wood, E., Zivcakova, L., Gentile, P., Archer, K., De Pasquale, D., & Nosko, A. (2012). Examining the impact of off-task multi. Computers & Education, 58(1), 365-374. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.08.029


Created with images by DariuszSankowski - "knowledge book library" • MorganK - "question mark question why" • free pictures of money - "Money" • kaboompics - "girl woman hand" • geralt - "leave board hand" • tjmwatson - "MSc eLearning: Essay Wordle" • birgerking - "Weapons Of Mass Distraction" • Graciolli Dotcom - "No Internet" • mrsdkrebs - "Technology Use"

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