BYOD’s Brutal Authenticity


Reposted from teachthought:

Starting in the spring of 2012, Georgia’s Forsyth County began allowing students to bring in their own devices. They installed a separate wireless network that offered filtered internet access. They trained teachers. Then they installed some ground rules, closed one eye and grimaced, fearful of what might happen.

And for the most part, it worked. In a blog post on Innovative Educator, Tim Clark, District Instructional Technology Specialist (ITS) for Forsyth County Schools, explained the shift that occurred once students brought in their own technology. “As the teachers began to introduce BYOD* into their classrooms, some fundamental changes began to occur. They no longer had to teach their students about technology in order to integrate technology effectively in their classrooms because the students were already the experts with their own devices.”

But there’s more. Clark also touts more important benefits of BYOD—those that lead to better learning. “This change in practice (adopting a BYOD program) can evolve as the teachers allow themselves to become collaborators with their students in the learning process. When the students first bring in their technology devices, they are immediately engaged and want to explore all of the possible capabilities of the technology. This initial phase of exploration passes quickly as the students become more literate in their devices and learn how to connect them to the BYOD wireless network. The teacher and the students then begin to adapt their technologies to their current classroom practices.”

Read More…

Schools Moving Back to Laptops


Reposted from the Atlantic:

For an entire school year Hillsborough, New Jersey, educators undertook an experiment, asking: Is the iPad really the best device for interactive learning? It’s a question that has been on many minds since 2010, when Apple released the iPad and schools began experimenting with it. The devices came along at a time when many school reformers were advocating to replace textbooks with online curricula and add creative apps to lessons. Four years later, however, it’s still unclear whether the iPad is the device best suited to the classroom.

Last fall, enthusiasm for the Apple device peaked when Los Angeles Unified Schools, the second largest system in the nation, began a rollout out of iPads to every student. However, the L.A. district quickly recalled about 2,100 iPads from students. At the end of the school year, leaders announced that schools would instead be allowed to choose from among six different devices, including Chromebooks and hybrid laptop-tablets. L.A. schools weren’t the first to falter: At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, Guilford County Schools in North Carolina halted an Amplify tablet program, and Fort Bend, Texas, cancelled its iPad initiative.

In Miami-Dade County, Florida, a large urban district with 320,000 students, schools are promoting a “bring your own device” model. “We can’t keep up with the trends in personal devices,” said Paul Smith, supervisor of network services. Miami-Dade delayed its technology rollout after hearing of the Los Angeles iPad recall last fall; this year, it will have provided about 48,000 laptops: Ninth-grade history students will take them home, while seventh-grade civics students will each have a device in class. Some elementary students will have laptops on carts in their classrooms. Still, the system doesn’t have enough money to give a laptop to every student. So, leaders are urging parents to buy computers and will try to fill any gaps with district-issued devices.

Read More…

BYON: Bring Your Own Network!


Reposted from Innovate My School:

“By now the phrases ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and latterly ‘Bring Your Own App’ (BYOA) are familiar with the majority of us, and integral part of our technological knowledge. Using our own mobile devices and applications are commonplace on a daily basis. Being able to use wireless devices such as mobile phones and tablets to access social media sites and applications, beyond the reach of the main network and allowing access from remote locations, has opened the door to a wealth of information adding greater dimensions to support teaching and learning, in conjunction with and, alongside more traditional methods.

More recently, ‘Bring Your Own Network’ (BYON) has started to emerge. Initially more likely to have been around in the corporate world, but nevertheless something those of us in the education world need to be aware of, BYON is when staff or pupils use their mobile phone cellular connectivity to set up a personal hotspot. Simply put, this means that they can bypass the main network and access websites, apps and other services that are banned by IT filtering systems by creating personal area networks (PANs), as an alternative to the schools main network.

Acceptable use policies (AUP) are widely in place that are signed by both staff and pupils allowing a school to regulate, establish governance and acceptable usage standards (i.e., that specify conditions that must be followed for BYOD and BYOA). It may be time to rethink those conditions and amend your AUP: “Even a BYOD policy written as recently as 2012 may not make specific mention of personal hot spots and their use”, wrote Andrew Wright in Computer Weekly.”

Read More…

Schools Move Towards BYOD Programs to Build Ed Tech Capacity


Reposted from the Washington Post:

“The idea of allowing students to use their own technology in schools to enhance academic instruction is a significant departure from the cellphone bans of old. But it has increased in a number of school systems, including those in Fairfax and Prince William counties, as educators look for ways to embrace the digital world.

Such approaches come as many school systems are investing heavily in laptops and tablets, with an eye toward one-to-one computing, which provides a device to each student. But some districts find that impractical, and in Montgomery, school leaders are taking a blended approach that they say is more affordable and sustainable: supporting BYOD practices as they also buy thousands of Chromebooks and tablets.

But in some places, there are signs of change right now…”

Read More…