We all have them. Devices. You carry your laptop to meetings, might watch a movie on a tablet, and let's not forget how attached we are to our smartphones. Those aren't just the only computing devices either. Now we have smart watches, fitness trackers, and other wearables that are constantly informing us, alerting us when we have something to take care of and/or monitoring our activity to tell us how much we should move throughout the day.
In education, we mostly identify devices in our learning experience as "Bring Your Own Device" strategies or District provided technology.
Recently, Omaha South High School moved to a Bring Your Own Device model. BYOD (bring your own device) is where students and staff are allowed to use personal mobile devices on the school wireless network. There’s a lot to consider when determining if implementing BYOD in your school is the right move.
Here are some considerations:
These are a few considerations; however, the benefits can outweigh these factors. BYOD can be used to promote digital citizenship. In addition, students take control of ensuring that their device is working, instilling a sense of responsibility. Also, costs can be saved but keep in mind, you may be shifting costs to infrastructure for role based wireless such as Cisco's Identity Services Engine to provision and secure network resources.
When it comes to digital equity and digital curriculum deployments, providing the device makes most sense. The number of schools and districts moving to 1:1 is accelerating, and the there are many lessons we can learn from the pioneers. Technology is only effective as a learning tool when educators have the skills to use it in an instructionally sound and effective way. Through introducing instructional technology into our Best Instructional Practices Handbook, providing effective professional development through our Microsoft Innovative Educator Program and Instructional Technology Leadership Cohort, we have been preparing for the massive introduction of devices through our planned obsolescence strategy.
There are some considerations though:
To keep students safe online and guide the appropriate use of technology, I cannot express enough the need to develop support policies that provide a framework for effective operation and application, both in BYOD and District provided strategies. These should address all aspects of technology use across all stakeholder groups, from high-level policies governing web filtering and access to low-level policies around digital citizenship and acceptable use agreements.
This is the challenge. Do you allow the proliferation of multiple devices through BYOD, or standardize devices through district purchasing decisions? I think it is both. Yep. Both. In the end, I think we will all move to allowing devices to be brought in while also standardizing on the experience. It is what's best for students. It's all about learning. When you need just-in-time, quick feedback, have the students use their smart phones. When you want each student to experience the exact same learning environment, hand out the device. Soon, both will happen in the classroom through technology. The challenge will be how we prepare and grow teachers' digital literacy to make this possible through classroom management strategies.
These posts are personal. They are not reflective of the Omaha Public Schools District.