7 Questions for Bringing Your Own Device to School
Smartphones and mobile devices are changing the business world. Instead of IT departments being able to force a particular set of mobile solutions on the workforce, employees now expect to be able to use the smartphones -- and increasingly, iPads or other mobile devices -- they bought for personal use.
According to data from Aberdeen Group
(via ZDNet), about 75% of enterprises now have "bring your own device" policies in place. Read more
So "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) is making sense for companies. Is BYOD going to work for schools?
Think about your school and trying to set up a 1:1 program. Look at your students. Look at your staff. Consider how you are currently maintaining and managing your technology. All or most of your teachers and students have smartphones or some type of mobile device. Before your school decides to implement BYOD, ask your teachers, students, and parents these questions:
- Is your school looking to cut costs?
Let's be real. Every school no matter if public or private is having financial issues. The cost of maintaining technology is very high. Much of your costs are for people. If you are a public school, the district has an IT department that management the network, images the laptops on the 1:1 program, controls what programs are added to the image, and oversees the firewall and what websites are accessible to students. This will change.
- Do you have tech-savvy teachers who are creative and are more the "guide on the side" type of people?
Sometimes we forget that many teachers already know how to use technology. Most or all have a cell phone. Almost all teachers now are creating their lessons on the computer. What I found is that teachers need their own guide or coach to support them as they lead the way. Like I've said in past posts, teachers only know what they were taught. Teachers were taught to teach in isolation and to provide direct instruction. They were the keepers of knowledge who fed information to their students. In designing a program that uses any type of device means that teachers need to move to a different type of entity. This will take time. This is where schools need to put their resources and money. The teacher is the one that matters in the classroom. Learning to "Let Go" is not easy. Everything changes. The relationship between teacher and administration is one of trust where teachers are allowed to take risks. Students take risks and learn from failure. That's a big jump. I say let's value this type of teacher or guide and give them the support they need to have students succeed.
- How many of your teachers and students own a mobile device?
Do a survey with the different types of mobile devices. Find out if they use the device at school and at home. It really doesn't matter what type of device if the owner of the device takes responsibility for the maintenance of the device.
- What types of projects or lessons are teachers doing that includes technology?
At a Birds of a Feather session moderated by Scott Meech (http://iear.org) there were loads of people with iPads sharing the next big App with the group. It seemed like everyone had an iPad or some type of mobile device at ISTE. Many of the Apps that were shared were free like Science360 hosted by the National Science Foundation along with online free libraries like the Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) with over 2100 video lectures. I plan to post again with loads of examples of apps for schools and strategies on how to use those apps in the classroom.
- What does professional development look like when everyone is using different mobile devices?
Professional development is changing. It is no longer a stand-up and deliver one shot one day deal. You can use a one day or one hour session to introduce an idea, method, strategy, or to empower teachers to move in a specific direction. I'd like to think professional development is more like professional growth that builds on personal learning goals. If you drive everything around your passion, you want it and own it. Most teachers became a teacher to make a difference. For the past 8 or so years, it has been about accountability, test scores, and keeping the school open. Many teachers have burnt out. Some really good teachers have retired early. Some new teachers are in the profession for the wrong reasons. What if we change what professional development looks like? How about an ILP (Individual Learning Plan) for teachers where they are supported by a coach and are part of several professional learning communities? Every teacher and their situation is different than every other teacher. Just like students. Now with BYOD, they have a different role.
- What is the different role of the teacher in a BYOD school?
The teacher is a co-learner with their students and not the sole expert of the content and/or technology any more. No one can be. The world is a different place with Google. You can google any term or phrase. The problem now is for students to know what is authentic and valid and how to think critically on their own. Teachers have to reinvent what teaching is. The school needs to support their experimenting and risk-taking. The teacher is more of a practicing researcher with real people. Each student brings something interesting and special to the class. Now they are bringing their own device.
- So what does the BYOD classroom look like?
Students group themselves by topic. There is a lot of noise going on in some parts of the room where other parts of the room there is quiet and intense research going on. The teacher is walking around observing, answering questions, doing research themselves, and letting go. Students may be texting each other and maybe sharing with each other. This is more like the real world. Rules will probably change. Students will own more of their learning. The learning environment will be more creative and innovative. There will probably be open doors or classes held outside. More projects. Less lecturing.
I can think of more questions. Can you? Do you have any for me? I am excited about this direction.