Throughout North America, we are turning to the students to bring us into the “now” of education. Using BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiatives, our schools are attempting to increase the number of smartphones, tablets and laptops that we have on hand. As a way of managing shrinking budgets and improving student engagement, BYOD could represent the next great frontier in education. Here are two considerations when getting started:
BYOD: Policy-Setting Clear Boundaries to Avoid Confusion
Create a school-wide policy of “zones” that dictate the level of student device use. Whether they are communicated as colours, numbers or pictures, posters that explicitly state the permission levels for devices in specific areas will enable students to be clear about boundaries and help educators to reinforce them.
Some permission areas could be;
RED – Device-free (not to be seen or heard) (e.g. main office)
YELLOW – Devices used only with direct teacher permission (e.g. classrooms)
GREEN – Devices fully used at all times (e.g. cafeteria)
Build the Network of BYOD Ideas and Practice
Start a ‘sharing wall’ in a staff space where teachers can post a quick note with an idea that they have (or have tried) using student devices in the classroom. By building a resource bank, teachers will be able to share their creative practice and provide support to their colleagues. As ideas are added, people are self-identifying themselves as leaders that will help to build the school’s capacity for technology use and learning integration.
The Future is Now
When students bring in their electronic devices from home – teachers can be bombarded by the distractions, rules and uncertainty which can all culminate into a disruption to teaching, and therefore, student learning. But, what if these devices represent the very thing that our schools need to heighten global awareness, enhance student motivation and improve real-world readiness?
Let’s take some bold steps and start from the ground up. Just by choosing one way of incorporating student-owned devices in your lesson – you have taken a huge step. The students are the sounding board and they will support you in your journey. It may be new to you, but they will feel comfortable and tuned in to these technological vehicles in ways that worksheets can never do.
How does your school manage its BYOD program? In what exciting ways have you incorporated student devices in your lessons?
During Neilʼs 9 years of teaching experience, he has taught in London, England; Ontario; public and private schools; elementary and secondary; junior; intermediate; core french; developmental skills; and now junior gifted (grades 4,5,6). He is a Reading Specialist that has been incorporating technology in his practice consistently throughout his career. Neil has recently published his first book entitled “Ignite. Incite. Inspire.” – Examining 21st Century Issues in Education, which is a collection of teaching articles and posts written from January to December 2011.