We have started our second year of Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) in our school district. We learned lessons in the first year (which was really more like half a year) and now we are learning more in the second year. Here are some insights as we are diving into the program that are impacting BYOT implementation:
1. THE APPS HAVE IT
Apps are by far the favorite means for BYOT implementations. Students and teachers love Edmodo because Edmodo has an App. There is tons of interest in the Khan Academy App. It was available before on the computer but the App has made it accessible. Dropbox has become a favorite for students to use to share their assignments with peers and teachers. Animoto's Mobile App, Keynote, and iMovie are favorites for creation of products that showcase student learning. So, the lesson here is simple: Stay up with the available Apps, Share them others in your BYOT environment, and use them yourself.
2. EVERYONE IS A LOT LESS ANXIOUS ABOUT BYOT
To be honest, I haven't heard anything negative since the new year started. BYOT was just part of the program and teachers seem to be much more comfortable with the new "elephant" in the room, the mobile device. Students seem more willing to participate, as well, as I see more students with larger devices like laptops than I did last year. The first year, it seemed as if the students were tentative, almost afraid that bringing their mobile devices was not really OK or that it was all a joke. This year, however, they are accepting and the mobile device seems more commonplace among them for educational use.
3. STUDENTS HAVE MORE EDUCATIONAL APPS ON THEIR PHONE
This may seem logical but think about it. Isn't that the idea? Students have more educational apps which means that they may just wander into their English teacher's Edmodo book discussion instead of watching that TV show. Heck, they may do both but the point is that they have educational resources at their disposal at an increased level! And, that is a good thing!
4. CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT WAS NOT AS BIG A PROBLEM AS ORIGINALLY THOUGHT
This was the single biggest concern among our teachers. But, they have fallen into a rhythm with the mobile devices and their students just as they did before the mobile devices were present (or were tucked away in a blue jean's pocket). The devices don't seem to be the enemy anymore. Instead, they are moving towards a different status: an educational tool. There's always work to be done in this arena but the mindset shift is starting and is apparent.
5. TEACHERS STILL NEED SUPPORT
Despite the growth and success, teachers still need support for their own BYOT implementation. Lesson ideas, classroom management ideas, app ideas are all part of the movement to bring mobile devices into education as a learning tool. Providing lots of readily available resources such as those featured in the Symbaloo Webmix below are critical pieces for gaining momentum in the right direction - towards student academic success. Grow your resources, encourage additions to the resources, and build a resource-rich area on your school or classroom website that allows teachers, students, and parents to find them.
Our journey continues and we learn something new every day! As an educational community, we need to share this information with each other so that can all grow from new understandings. So, how is BYOT/BYOD doing in your part of the world? We'd love to hear your story!