The ups and downs of BYOD: A sociocultural perspective

David Parsons, Janak Adhikari

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


This paper reports on the first two years of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative in a New Zealand secondary school, using data derived from a series of surveys of teachers, parents and students. In this paper we present the data gathered from these surveys, which includes not only quantitative data but qualitative data from free text responses, giving insights into the challenges faced by teachers, students and parents in moving to a BYOD classroom, and the potential benefits for teaching and learning, and preparing students for a digital world. We frame our analysis from a sociocultural perspective that takes account of structures, agency and cultural practices and the interactions between these domains over time. We find that there are some tensions in these relationships, with contexts and practices having to be renegotiated as the BYOD classroom and the structures within which it operates evolve. Our findings also suggest that students perceive their digital skills as developing rapidly, while teachers are more circumspect. From our interpretations of our qualitative data, we suggest that this is because members of staff are considering the development of their skills in the context of transformations of classroom practice, which demands a more extensive skill set than student use of one-to-one devices. On the surface, it appears that many of the changes to cultural practice are substitution or augmentation of previous activities, for example using one-to-one devices for researching and presenting material. However, when we look deeper, it is evident that apparently straightforward adoption of digital media is having a more profound impact on structure and agency within the classroom. If there is an area where agency may be problematic, it is in the responses of parents, who may feel increasingly alienated from their children's learning activities if their own digital skills are lacking. These findings will be of interest to anyone who is engaged in BYOD projects, particularly those who are planning such initiatives or in the early stages of implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2015
Event14th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2015 - Hatfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Oct 201530 Oct 2015


Conference14th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • BYOD
  • Mobile learning
  • Sociocultural structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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