Several years ago, the district in which I was working sent out a survey regarding PYOD. Surprisingly, the school with the poorest families overwhelmingly answered that they would most certainly purchase a device for their student to use at school (I believe, but can't remember for certain, that it was an iPad it specifically mentioned in the survey) as long as they knew it would help their student achieve more.
Those of us at the district tech level were surprised, but pleased. The district subsequently was able to purchase devices for student use without parents purchasing, but we learned that parents had been excited about the idea.
The district level tech dept was ready to make the network safe and effective for BYOD and for PYOD both. This, I believe, can often be a bigger stumbling block.
My district allows students to BYOD, but has not pushed to implement the policy. If a student has a device and the teacher allows its use in the classroom the student is allowed to use it. If the teacher does not explicitly allow use of the device, it is to remain put away. I'm not sure it is a friendly BYOD policy. (That's why I did not chime in earlier.)
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Many of the schools I work with have different and varied levels of technology device implementation. Elementary schools or levels are supplied with tablets as a 3 to 1 solution or so many desktop machines in the classroom. We are seeing more Chromebooks being introduced starting at the 2nd-3rd grade level and mostly due to TCO (total cost of ownership) but also the increased demand of keyboarding skills introduction at this level.
Once students hit the middle school level- this is where we see the introduction of BYOD or a purchased device of choice by schools whether it is Chromebook or a tablet device. Schools still have dedicated computer labs at these grade levels due to the exorbitant amount of state testing. Many schools allowing for BYOD are doing a better job on the front end with introducing and modeling appropriate skills with a dedicated digital citizenship curriculum such as Common Sense Media curriculum or NetSmartz Teens. Schools have found creative solutions to assist students that can not afford a device, as they have collected donated community cell phones and are tapping into the power of WIFI on these phones to provided access to students.Other schools- have purchased a cart of Chromebooks or tablets- and house these computer carts in the library media area, and students are free to check out a device as easy as they would check out our a library book.
At the high school level we see the biggest use of BYOD. Once students have been introduced to the concept and expectations of a BYOD program at the middle school level, the transition to high school of a BYOD program is much easier. We are also seeing schools investing in robust laptops for high schools students, as they are prime and have the ability to make/create/produce/publish amazing digital creations. Schools are finally realizing that it is NOT about the device- it is about the opportunity of student choice to choose the best learning tool to assist them to get their job/task done.
Mobile devices- whether it is a tablet, laptop, Chromebook, or some type of cell phone technology- have really come down in price. Parents now feel they can afford a learning tool to benefit their son or daughter in the home environment, and feel comfortable enough with allowing their children to bring it to school to learn from. I truly believe we will be seeing more BYOD or PYOD options in K-12 schools, as our schools are so constrained with educational funding to supply every student a device. Creative solutions as a well-implemented BYOD or PYOD program can greatly fill the information access void for many students, but the importance now is helping our teachers create and deliver compelling mobile assignments and lessons that are truly challenging and engaging.
Here are a few mobile learning ideas and lessons to support your teaching efforts with your BYOD implementation and teaching practices.
Verizon Mobile Learning Academy- FREE PD to support your mobile learning initiative
Thanks for sharing Naomi! This is super helpful! I find that parents are a lot more open to purchasing devices for their children today more than ever. It is a tool that opens allows them so many opportunities to communicate, collaborate, create and really design their own future. I know accessibility is also important but even in places where Wi-Fi may not be accessible, a child can still create, read, and use their devices for learning. In addition, some cities are considering obtaining Wi-Fi for their communities to ensure that even those who cannot afford access, have it available.
I read the article and it definitely hits many of the issues we face. We have a BYOD program and classroom mobility initiative (1:1). I would like to add some items:
- You need adequate technical support and a different type of robust wireless. How do you accommodate older devices that can't connect to different wireless protocols
- If they are "personal" devices you really can't tell them not to use them for "personal" things which impacts bandwidth
- We have moved totally to the cloud which helps but teachers are not always tech savvy enough to troubleshoot issues. Video is done in different formats that is not compatible with an iPhone, droid, etc. The lack of standardization requires so much more time on the part of the teachers.
- I would recommend looking at other solutions that might not be 1:1 but classroom mobility solutions. If we give every student the same device it makes it easier and more consistent but it inhibits creativity. We are 4 device society. None of us functions with just one device anymore.
- We need to redefine what we need to students to be able to. Video (maybe best with an iPad perhaps), collaboration (Office 365 or Google), conferencing (maybe Skype or facetime), look at the 21st century skills and align. We are finding that students can have laptops for most of their functionality - we use tablets and Office 365 with Microsoft one Note and Schoology but they still need to use apps and leverage the strength of other devices.
- So a purchase program can work but the more you purchase inhouse and keep the devices as district owned, the more you can control and maintain and sense of order.
You provide good insight as a district person that has addressed different challenges. Thank you for adding the different items. I think creating a document as an add-on to this conversation and adding your pieces is one way to keep track of the ideas mentioned in this discussion/conversation. I will try and do that this week.
On the positive side of "BYOD", more and more districts are considering and actually implementing their use in my area. Because there are things districts should consider ahead of time but no "one or two" right ways to implement a BYOD correctly, there are still challenges that districts face, that only they can find a way through. I do wish there was an easier way for districts to connect and share what is going on though. I think one of the challenges that districts face is that even when they are prepared (like with a checklist), implementation of a BYOD can still be a challenge because it can look so different depending on a variety of factors. When a district has to factor in things like: infrastructure, culture, PD, device minimums, cloud software, social-economics, density, different levels of students, digital literacy, curriculum, etc., any deviation in those factors that changes after planning can create havoc (or opportunity to do something new). A good BYOD plan has to be flexible enough to change over time.
I love what you mentioned about rethinking mobility solutions. We are not a "one device fits all" population anymore, even though some schools are still struggling with "why do my students need devices in the first place?" There are still those that I come across who do not believe that students should have devices because they cause distractions. But, those conversations are beginning to evolve into deeper conversations about #whatisschool, forcing conversations to take into account all the wonderful activities we see growing in numbers: #geniushour #20%time #passionprojects #makerspaces #coding etc. The conversations are becoming more frequent though, and they are coming at us fast and furious. One way to ensure success is to keep documenting what you are doing, find a way to share it with others, and hope others with share back. It's an exciting time.
I had a mentor when I first started in education that used to repeat, "When you are on the cutting edge, you tend to bleed a lot." I don't think anyone who is ahead of the curve these days minds the bandaids. They have been worth it.
My principal asked me (when he started at the school) if I was one of those "cutting edge" teachers. I explained that I was not one of those teachers. He looked shocked as I explained that I was a "Bleeding Edge" teacher. He wondered what that meant. I told him the Bleeding Edge teacher tries things BEFORE the "Cutting Edge" teacher hears about them. My principal laughed and said " then I need to learn from you." I took it as high praise.
I guess we need a big bandaide. It can say I am not really bleeding just creating.....
We always want to keep students as our first priority but that has to be in partnership with the technical services department. They play a role in this and BYOD offers interesting challenges.
I know it is tough to connect and share. I think publishing articles in trade journals is a way to get the word out along with conferences.
Maybe we should write guides and articles and get published. What about a few conferences on very targeted subjects that have people leaving with an actual plan.
It isn't always the sharing it is the "doing." When you get back to your office you are swamped with life and then those ideas become a distant memory. If we can lock people in a room for 2 days perhaps we can guide a process of planning so they come out with materials.
Just my two cents.
Thanks for such a thoughtful reply.
Thanks blancaedu for reminding me about this thread. I know in my school district funding and equitable distribution of devices are issues. It is nice for students to be able to bring their own devices but what about the students that cannot afford to bring devices. Schools should be able to provide these students with some type of device. It's almost like a catch 22. If the school provides devices then most parents won't let their children bring their personal devices to school since the school is providing...but the schools do not have money so devices are not being purchased.