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Students told: bring your mobile phone to the classroom

Remember the days when students were told to put away their mobile phones and listen to the teacher? Now they are more likely to be encouraged to use their personal mobile device in a classroom or lecture theatre for teaching and learning. The rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was just one of the hot topics discussed at InfoComm for Higher Education: What’s Working Now, a conference sponsored by AV Magazine.

Allowing students to plug their personal device into an institution’s network has security implications, and many universities have IT systems with weak security, said Paul Zielie, CTS-D, CTS-I, manager of enterprise solutions, Harman: “The biggest threat they face is vandalism, with intruders messing up their systems,” he said, “universities need to ask: ‘what are we trying to protect; who are we trying to protect ourselves from, and how much are we willing to spend?’” Protection includes using passwords, firewalls and encryption, and having conversations with integrators and system designers about security, added Zielie.

BYOD and the collaborative learning classroom was the theme of the talk by Mike Shaw, Kramer Electronics. Today’s students are used to a 24/7 learning culture, and learning through sharing and collaboration, added Shaw, “The collaborative classroom is about student-focused group learning. It means that lecturers become more like conductors or directors of learning.” Network managers are often wary about BYOD, said Shaw, “They talk about the need to protect their network, but it’s not their network; it belongs to all of us, and it’s their job to make it happen.”

InfoComm is hosting another conference, InfoComm for AV Executives: What’s Working Now, on Friday 12 February 09.30-13.00 Room D204.