Friday, 27 July 2012

BYOD: 1950, 1960, 1970 & 2012

I've been involved in a number of discussions lately around BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). In 2012 there is a movement for education establishments to provide the WiFi infrastructure for students to bring and use their own laptops, tablets, phones etc.

There are the short discussions; 'students are keen to bring their own devices' (usually University colleagues) and weighty discussions concerning issues of Health & Safety and socio-economic inequality.

Taking the principle that there are few truly original ideas, I've been thinking about my own time as a student. There have been a number of 'BYOD Moments' that passed by with little fuss (for us as students at least).

I am too young to have been a student during the 1950's when schools issued steel nib 'dip pens' and ink monitors filled the desk ink wells every morning. Imagine the outrage in the staff room when it was suggested that providing nibs and ink for student use would be stopped, students would have to 'Bring Their Own Device'. Students happily brought their own fountain pen and later their own biro/ballpoint. Although, 60 odd years later, some people still think the decline of 'penmanship' is a backward step in education.

Although schools provided geometry equipment in the 1960's, I remember at age 11 being given a rather fine box of drawing tools for my first day at secondary school. None of the school's blunt pointed dividers or compasses for me! I remember enjoying geometry (where those two things connected?) and I still have that set today (40 plus years later).

BYOD hit me at a conscious level when I was at University studying biochemistry. I seem to remember calculations required a book of log tables or later, log slide rules. When the Sinclair pocket calculator became available in 1973 it was a 'must have device' for me. I spent £25 of my hard earned student grant :-) on a 'Sinclair Cambridge'. A lot of money for a student (about £400 in todays money - see ) and for not much functionality. However, bringing my own device made calculations a breeze from that moment on.

 Looking back at the title of this post, there seems to be an obvious 'BYOD moment' in each decade that I was a student. I bet there were more from the 1980's onwards but I was a working man by then.....


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