1. Assess your infrastructure to see what your weaknesses may be, how you can get to a layer 3 network if not already and has it been designed for the number of mobile devices you expect. You might not have to do it now, but plan for it in case you can start with a basic set. Phase the project with clear measurable success criteria at each stage.
2. Assess your network protocol services you have running. EG. Wake on LAN, bonjour, airprint, airplay ETC. What authentication of devices do you have or require on the wired and wireless network? How this might affect the equipment you have or may consider to purchase? Most schools get caught with this one. Eg. Not everything will cross VLANs if this protocol is not supported on the hardware you have invested in already or intend to purchase.
3. Profile the network for types of devices. Do you know what type of devices are on your network? It’s surprising the amount and types of devices that many organisations are not aware are on their network. You can assume and be complacent or you can find out exactly with a profiling tool. The easy thing to do is calculate the number of IP and network devices per building or stack, both wired and wireless, eg, IP cameras and other none user interactive devices. This is going to be a unified solution you need so account for the everything now and what you expect. This way you can right size based on ports required now and in the future. Going forward it should be possible to actually decrease the ports required, as the de facto is wireless for new devices. Is BYOD a consideration, only or joint? Do you allow BYOD now? if so what do you have already?. Again Profile to find out what you have already. After all you don’t want this simple step to take down your network for everyone with something as simple as running out of DHCP addresses. By the way, most early adoption of BYOD allowed policies that introduced a major security. Types of users and the access they require to resources and the type of device(s) they may use.
4. Use Iperf or equivalent software measurement tool for the network stress testing. Measure both when quiet and busy. This helps with the correct design and is crucial to consider from the beginning.
5. APPS and data requirements; Get the school to consider the apps and how they will be use to teach and embed into the curriculum, simply as a tool not a gadget. This will help you choose the right mobile devices. High end video capturing is better on other devices than Apple, such as sports assessment of movements etc. Consider how you will “allow, me, accessing my stuff” via finger trigger happy devices. Not all apps support all storage of data requirements. Things such as WebDAV and making sure the pupil data is stored after the lesson. The thumb will react more quickly than brain engaging! Application intelligence is key for a true flexible mobile computing to allow creativity into the learning environment. It’s not about tying the device down anymore, rather restricting access at the appropriate times. Flexible enough for the wide variety of apps with maximum security. Application assurance and visibility to understand what is going on at any time will be the final requirement in helping support the uses and the learning experience.
Result is a mobility policy designed around a why schools want BYOD.
6. What type of devices are contained in a BYOD scheme? School prescribed, allow everyone to bring anything? With a multitude of devices and platforms, all devices must be able to deliver the elements required in the objectives of the lesson. For example, whether the content created can be stored for assessment?
7. The taxonomy of devices? Again, consider the pupils needs when planning to allow different devices to support learning.
Smartphones – good for internet research…
Slate / Tablets (iPads) – Creative content and consumption device…
Laptop / Netbook – Can create and run educational software titles in line with Curric plans.
Tablet with a stylus – Can use handwriting and recognition as well as all above….
There are important points around what the device is for and how is it implemented across the curriculum. How can the device assist in learning, don’t get held up on ‘which app’s are best?’
8. Behaviour management needs to be considered too. With devices coming onto the network, many devices can and will access social media through 3G/4G connections as well as wifi, so consider your policies on acceptable use and Internet safety. Most importantly, how do you sanction or enforce such policies when access to online content is integral.
9. Make sure that teachers and the whole teaching community and support staff are confident with this increase in multitude devices and technology. Without staff understanding the value and benefits of why BYOD, you may have resistant staff. Professional development for staff is very important when introducing such a change to the dynamic of the learning environment.
10. Decide at the planning stages on the supporting of the devices. Who will support and maintain the devices brought onto the network? Are they warrantied by manufacturer etc? This could increase the demand on the support in a school. Yet, do consider that when devices are under repair there may always be a percentage of students who cannot participate fully, how are they supported and cate for?
Schools need to be vigilant and protective of enabling BYOD schemes. The core value of the learning environment as defined by school policies cannot be compromised, instead they should be built upon by enabling students anytime, anywhere with anything learning. With this in mind, teachers, students and parents need to wok together to enable a successful delivery of BYOD.