Bring your own device or RaspberryPi hardware in education


The problem? School’s are facing dwindling education budgets and yet increasing expectations for children’s attainment in their knowledge. They are expected to deliver a better educational experience for less money (per head). How could they possibly do this, knowing that even now they are challenged with their budgets?

When people pick up new technology they usually have to learn how to use the device - this is included in new operating systems that are released. By forcing them to use a particular device in school, we may be putting some children at an disadvantage if they are already used to a different operating system at home. However, if the learning objective is to learn a new device, then this should be allowed (children shouldn’t become dependent on just one form of device).

The solution? By allowing children to bring their own device to school, you remove the barrier to the actual learning and allow everyone to develop the learning in the topic (not limited by the device they are learning).

Some schools are allowing children to bring in a device as long as it is a particular device (e.g. Apple iPad). This is still not a great solution to the problem. Not as many children own a specific device - some may own an Android tablet. Some children may not have any device wherein the school loans them one - this again forces children to learn something that they may not be interested in (e.g. learning how to use an Apple device when there is a very small chance that they will ever own one in their childhood due to family economics). Schools that offer this as a solution should offer a range of devices - the technology market is now moving so quickly that to teach children a particular set of devices will limit their future education (they will need to be adaptable in their next education setting and eventually workplace).

Moreover, schools that do allow children to bring in their own devices seem to have better attainment results. Research shows that children do better in this situation - however, I would advocate more research in this area, especially within the UK.

However, some schools would rather provide the hardware and not expect children’s parents to purchase new hardware - that’s understandable. In this case, schools can invest in low-cost hardware which allows them to deliver open lessons instead of closed lessons. Raspberry Pi hardware allows schools to provide very cheap hardware and allows children to experiment with different setups, instead of being forced to use particular hardware.