Should schools adopt B.Y.O.T?

A new trend across schools has emerged:  B.Y.O.T for Bring Your Own Technology.   Recently, an article in the New York Times describes the debate of whether schools should adopt B.Y.O.T.   Are you a fan or a critic of B.Y.O.T?  Do the advantages of adopting this policy outweigh the drawbacks, or do they not?  How can we think about this?  Before you answer our poll, let’s first discover how we can use a spreadsheet to develop a logical framework to better inform our opinion!

[polldaddy poll=6990938]

Problem-Solving Overview

  1. Define the problem or issue
  2. Brainstorm and list all arguments (in favor and against)
  3. Score each argument with a +1 (in favor) or -1 (against)
  4. Sum up the score

Creating a decision-making framework

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The first step is to define the problem or issue.  In this case, the central question is:  Should schools adopt B.Y.O.T.?

As shown above, we brainstorm and list all arguments that are either in favor of or against the question of whether schools should adopt B.Y.O.T.  Then in column C, we score each argument as either 1 (in favor) or -1 (against).  Finally, we tally up the scores to determine the final score.  If the score is positive, then we are in favor of the question:  if negative, then against.  If the score is zero, then we are fairly neutral.

As you’ll see in the formula column, we use the SUM function to determine the aggregate score.  Then we use a nested IF function to determine whether we are in favor, against, or neutral.   Please see the Resources section at the bottom of the post for video tutorials on both topics (SUM and Nested IF).  In addition, both formulas are shown in the embedded Google spreadsheet above (you may have to scroll to the right).

Now you’ve got the tools to create this framework.  List your arguments, score them, and see what your final answer is.  Then, head back up to the top of the post and submit your answer!   

In this basic framework, we assume that each factor (whether for or against) is weighted equally.  In other words, the framework doesn’t account for the degree to which the argument is in favor or against the issue.  For instance, in the example above, let’s say we believe that Factor 1 is of great importance and therefore should receive a higher score (+5) compared to Factor 7 (+1).   Incorporating these could change the aggregate score and final outcome!

Can you think of a way to incorporate this “preference weighting” into a spreadsheet framework?  Give this some thought before you view the related video below:


  • New York Times article:  here
  • Spreadsheet: here
  • Video on SUM:  here
  • Video on Nested IF:  here