1:1 and BYOD Considerations

What's the right way to implement technology in a district - 1:1 with devices purchased for all students, or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) where students can bring the devices they are most comfortable with from home?  Many districts see these as mutually exclusive options, but there are those districts that combine them in different ways to create hybrid implementations to best suit their needs.

Each district is unique with unique requirements and there is no one size fits all technology approach.  However there are numerous considerations that support the decision making process.











Device Management


Having only one type of device to support confers several advantages:

- The district can choose the resources that work on the device they have specified
- Teachers don't need to spend as much time and energy on device issues such as how to get digital tools and content to work on multiple different devices
- The technical support burden is lower allowing more resources to be spent on instructional support
- When conducting research on the efficacy of specific elements of the implementation, it is helpful to have a consistent set of devices used

A 1:1 program is less burdensome for teachers and it is easier to create an environment in which use of the technology is mandated and consistent. There is less variation within and between classrooms and fewer obstacles resulting in teachers  "opting out".

If a device breaks or needs charging it is easier to provide a replacement that is familiar to the student.

A 1:1 program requires continued financial commitment from the district for device refreshes.

When all students use the same tools, there is less opportunity for students to be creative and flexible in their use of devices.

As new devices with new affordances become available, they may be adopted less quickly, needing to wait for the next refresh cycle.

When all students have the same device it is easier for teachers to have them work in lockstep using the exact same tools rather than allowing voice and choice in the resources and approaches used by students

Students are required to use a form factor which may not be the one they are most comfortable with.

All students have the same quality of device

Single platform device management tools can be used and device management can be enforced


It is challenging to track student devices and to find tools and resources that work on all devices 

It is more challenging for teachers to manage a classroom where students are using different devices, some of which the teacher may not be familiar with. Teachers may not know how to troubleshoot problems and may have difficulty finding apps and resources that work on all devices. As a result, teachers may do less to implement the technology program in the classroom.

If a student brings an uncharged device, there are fewer options for the student to participate in digital classwork. If a student breaks a device, there may not be a good option for it to be replaced. There should be a loaner program in place.

The district saves money by not having to purchase devices.

With students bringing different types of devices, there is the opportunity to take advantage of affordances and apps supported by specific form factors or operating systems increasing the opportunity for creativity and student ownership of their learning.

Families may purchase new devices more frequently than a 3-5 year school refresh cycle

Students who are comfortable using their devices for their own purposes as well as academic purposes may have a better context for taking ownership of their own learning using technology

Students have the opportunity to work with the device of their choice

- Even in 1:1 implementations, students often ask if they can use their own devices

Not all students have equally capable devices or internet access

- Instruction of BYOD devices may become focused on the least common denominator - not all students devices have the affordances to accomplish all academic activities

For device management there may need to be a capacity to allow students to join the district device management system

If no device management is used, devices may use more bandwidth than when they are managed